Recently, I have been coming up with new ideas for stories, which has been great. At one point, I was unsure about how to approach one particular idea and was thinking of asking a question about it on an on-line writing group. I became hesitant simply because I was uncertain of the whole idea myself.
When we come up with new story ideas, it can sometimes be difficult to contain our excitement. We want others to be excited about it too. Many years ago, I would let my friends read the stories I was writing at the time. My friends were always interested in what I was writing and were eager to read more, but I would eventually reach the point where I had lost interest. I had no idea where the stories were going; there was no real plot and I only had the basic knowledge of my characters. It therefore came as no surprise to me that I never finished these stories, thus leaving my friends disappointed and I had many incomplete stories lying around.
Since that time, I have gone the other extreme and now think too long about my stories and characters, that I am lucky to send anything off (I really do need to learn when enough is enough). Whenever I am asked what it is I am currently working on these days, I only give the very basics away.
It may be different for other creatives, such as artists and musicians to describe a new project – people may have to see it or hear it in order to understand it better. For writers, however, we are perfectly able to give people the basics of what it is we are trying to create as these things are easier to put in words, which is our art form. Talking to others about our projects, before we fully understand them ourselves can destroy an idea before it really gets started.
So when you come up with a new idea for a story or working on something new, keep a lid on it; enjoy the process. You need to work it all out for yourself without having to let others either confuse you or discourage you. As Stephen King said: ‘Write with the door closed. Re-write with the door open’.
Do you tell others what you’re working on? Do you find it to be a help or a hindrance? Do you prefer to keep quiet about your work in progress? Do you find yourself thinking too much about a project before sending it off?
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4 thoughts on “When Silence Can be Golden for Writers.”
I have one author friend (who also happens to be my best friend), and I tell her pretty much everything about my stories. For me, there’s something that’s really helpful about talking it out. When I’m saying it to another person, it forces me to think, “Does this sound stupid to someone else? Is this a really a good idea?” And she’s really good about helping me through issues with my plot/characters/etc. However, I definitely wouldn’t talk about it to just anyone. There are some people who just don’t get it, I guess.
I also don’t often let someone read my story unless it’s finished or I’m dead-set on finishing it. (An empty promise, perhaps, but I’ve gotten much better at completing projects this year.)
Of course, I find that the best listener to my story related problems is my reflection. :3 She very rarely judges me. But talking about my stories (whether be it to myself or another person) has always helped me sort out ideas that were previously too jumbled up. It makes me think clearer and come up with better and more reasonable ideas.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just strange. 🙂
Hi daphrose. I think you’re very lucky to have a best friend that is also a writer. As you say, you can’t really talk to non-writers about such things. This is why I guess I’m so used to keeping my writing to myself – non-writers are not interested and quickly dismiss you. Whenever I have a problem with a project, I usually go for a walk on my own to help clear my head – it also prevents me from talking to myself whenever I’m alone in the house. 😉 Thanks for your comments.
I once told someone the synopsis of a story I was going to write. Big mistake! Once it had its audience I lost all desire to write it. Now the only people who know about my current stories are my writers’ group. I’ve convinced my mind that they’re mirror images not an audience so it doesn’t count. LOL
Hi jmlevinton. You’re lucky to be in a writer’s group; sadly mine folded a few years ago. I’ve always found talking things over with other writers both helpful and inspiring, but the complete opposite with non-writers. I guess it’s true that they just don’t ‘get it’. Thanks for your comments.
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