To talk, or not to talk

Do you like to talk about your work as you’re writing it, or do you prefer not to?  I’m of the latter persuasion. 

I generally don’t want to discuss my work until it’s finished, for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I firmly believe this takes the edge off the writing.  Part of the excitement is seeing the ‘cooking’ coming together straight from the pen.  If I talk about it, then when I write it I feel like the magic has already happened and the writing is just a pale imitation.  Interesting that this is why some writers don’t plan.  For some reason, I can plan without feeling like I’ve already written it. 

Another reason is that any feedback starts to run interference with my producing skills.  If someone makes suggestions, that’s what I’ll hear when I next sit down to the blank page, along with the usual self criticism and doubts.  It’s so much harder to write with the extra talk going on.  Does this mean I can’t take criticism?  I hope not!  Not if it’s given with tact and compassion, anyway.  I’m all for honesty, but not for ridicule or contempt.  And best leave it for the end, when I’ve already got the story clear in my head.

I’ve known people who love to talk about their work, describing what thrills them about it, where they’re up to and what difficulties they’re having.  It’s wonderful seeing the light in their eyes, and watching them get clarity around where they want to go next!  This causes a bit of a dilemma for me, as it makes me feel ungiving when I decline to talk about my own work.  And there’s only so much one can say without having read the book, so the conversation tends to be a little … well … one-sided.

As always, there’s no right or wrong.  Just some points to consider.

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