Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Reasons to Talk About Your Writing

As writers we are often introverted and like to keep our writing close to our chest, at least in the early phases. But there is a case for talking about your writing and I don’t just mean online. Talking about your writing out loud can do many things for you.

1.) Find your strengths and your weaknesses.
Talking about your process can help you see what you are doing right... as well as what needs work. Sometimes the mere act of listening to yourself can be really eye opening. The other person sometimes doesn’t even have to say a thing for things to become clearer. Hearing is another medium and when you take your writing off the page, you often notice things you didn’t previously.

2.) Learn from other writers.
Talking about other people's processes can help give you a new perspective and new angles to try. If you are stuck or looking for a new process seeing how others do things can help you with your own writing. Trying new things can open a new door and send you in a direction you never thought to take. This in turn can help you improve your craft and explore new avenues.

3.) Fix trouble spots.
Talking about current WIPs can help you with trouble spots, and help you plot. There’s been many times where I was stuck on a plot point or didn’t know how to proceed. Putting it out on paper didn’t seem to help, but the minute I verbalize my problem, everything seems to click. This goes back to the point in number 1. Hearing things is a new medium. It makes your brain work in another way. So saying stuff out loud to someone else often kicks your plotting back into gear and helps you move past a sticking point, many times without the other person having to offer any advice. But even if it isn’t an instant fix, talking to someone else can start a brainstorming session. This may not give you all the answers, but it helps get your brain going again.

4.) Drive excitement.
Ever hit that point in your manuscript where everything seems to slow to a crawl? It’s not a shiny new idea anymore, but the end is still far off. This is the saggy draggy middle. And sometimes it’s hard to drive excitement when it’s not new, and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Help yourself get over the hump when things are slowing down. Talking about your current project can reignite the fire of the new shiny idea. Plus other people's excitement about your idea can drive your own excitement and might fuel new possibilities.

5.) Hone your pitch.
This goes back to practice makes perfect. The more you talk about your manuscript the easier it is to summarize. If you can get it into a short sentence or two without losing your audience's attention you’re on the right track. Also by talking about your book out loud, in person, you can see what things people react to. Those reactions are what people find interesting and what you should ultimately shape all your query and pitches around. The idea is to get people to ask questions about what you are working on, not spill the beans and bore them in the process. The more you talk about your manuscript the more you will learn to entice others.

If you are struggling or just need some extra practice, try having conversations about your manuscript. You might find you like it. Have you tried this before? If so, have you noticed any other ways it’s helped your writing?


Anna Staniszewski said...

These are all the reasons I started blogging about my writing years ago. Writing about my projects helped me to see my process more clearly, what needed work, etc. It's also a good place to write a little pep talk to myself (and potentially other writers) when I'm having a hard time.

Jamie Krakover said...

Definitely! Sometimes a change in medium is all you need to provide clarity. And little pep talks are great too! We all need them from time to time.

mirrorsandmagicfrogs said...

Thanks for this, Jamie!

Diane Bohannan said...

These are great tips! Thanks for sharing them! I really enjoy getting together with other writers. We brainstorm and critique and that helps motivate me if I'm in a a rough spot with my ms. We have to encourage one another! :)

Jamie Krakover said...

You're welcome! And I too really enjoy meeting up with other writers. There's a group of local writers here that have weekly write-ins at a coffee shop. We all write and ask each other questions and talk about our writing. It's so helpful especially when it comes to trouble spots. Plus like you said it's great encouragement to get words on the page :)