Don’t Talk… Write!
How to Keep — not Lose — your Motivation
by Sarah Tun
I once heard another writer make a comment which made so much sense to me I’ve never forgotten it. For novice writers in particular, this message could be crucial to ensure to get your projects out of the starting blocks.
“Don’t talk about your book, write it!”
When you have a great idea, it’s tempting to want to share it with someone. Apart from the fact it might be the Moby Dick, Don Quixote or Les Miserable for the 21st Century and someone might overhear you and pinch your idea, it is also unwise to talk about it because if you talk about it, you’re much less likely to write it.
Writing is a form of self expression. If you express an idea verbally, you’ve shared it; maybe your chief motivation was simply to share the idea. The drive to “write down the ideas” is inevitably diminished, when you “talk” the idea with others. If you really want to get that project off the ground, keep the ideas to yourself and begin to write them down.
There is a sense of accomplishment and excitement when you convey what’s brewing inside of you. I promise that sense is greater and deeper when you’ve completed the written task rather than when you’ve only bent someone’s ear about it.
Get the best!
Rather than talking out your story or message, which offers shallow, limited satisfaction, keep that drive to share your message and get the whole thing down. With that internal drive to tell your story, you are more likely to actually to write it.
Exceptions to prove the rule
There will be times when you need to share… It’s valuable to know the difference between “talking the talk to avoid walking the walk” and discussion to gain clarity.
At the risk of contradicting myself, I will say, there will be times appropriate to talk about your writing project. This will be at a time after you’ve written a chapter you’re not happy with. Or after completing the book. Eventually, you’ll have editing and marketing that needs to be considered. In those instances you may find dialoguing with an editor or marketer to distil the best way to target your audience and grab their attention very helpful. Clarity can come through discussion, and after those conversations you’ll be motivated to go back to your project, to tweak it.
Or maybe through dialoguing with fellow writers, or professionals you’ve hired to help you, you’ll discover you want to make major or drastic changes, to make your piece even better. That’s all part of the process.
In the early stages
Before you left the starting gate, you kept the ideas inside and let them propel you forward, right?!
Once you have the first draft completed, as you share with other writers, you’ll find they understand the process and will generally encourage and offer useful tips, insights or interpretations. Great!
And by all means, tell the whole world when you’ve finished your manuscript. Today with social media, letting your world know you’re crafting a book can create an early buzz about it that will later be a significant part of your paying and/or reviewing audience. However, until you’re absolutely certain of your time line, don’t make publication promises. And even though the response to your announcement might be hugely enthusiastic, don’t share detail; you want to motivate others to buy the book, not give away its secrets.
Looking for Praise
It’s natural to be excited about and proud of your idea. But in case you’re looking for praise, be aware it’s just as often you’ll get others’ opinions on how to “improve”
your idea. Or you might get a blank stare instead. Don’t let it de-rail you. A lacklustre response may cause you to stumble, to give up, to abandon the project entirely; keeping things to yourself protects you from such confusion. You can’t satisfy everyone, and anyway, a partially-written book is like half a haircut; you won’t know how it turns out ’til it’s finished. And remember all those reasons you have to write the book? You won’t want to cloud your motivation or confuse your thought processes based upon others’ half-baked opinions or unconsidered responses.
If you talk about your project, be prepared for all sorts of reactions. Some will congratulate and celebrate with you. Others will flatter, or distain (a lot of people want to write a book and you’ve just done it). Some will be jealous, some will be curious, confused, disinterested, or downright rude. If you’re strong, you’ll take the good with the bad and let it all wash over you. You’ll get some useful insights too, which will lead you back to your book to improve upon it (that’s why it is particularly good to share with other writers; they are more likely to offer constructive criticism and uplifting encouragement).
Summary: Begin to write, know when to talk, and be prepared for rewrites
It is perfectly normal to have to re-draft your book. Talking won’t prevent that, and once you’ve finished the first draft, sharing your story can ensure you get great and helpful feedback.
That’s the time to talk with — and to listen to — wise and experienced counsel.
Having a great idea is wonderful and one key to getting the project completed is to know when to keep silent, when to share, and how to choose the listening ears who can best serve you to become a better story teller.
Words are a writer’s key equipment on which to build his stories and share her insights. Let’s save them for the publication and promotions, rather than allowing them to float through the air to ears which are not always worthy of our inner inspirations.
In September, I plan to hold a webinar for writers wanting to get their new projects off the launching pad. Stay tuned for: “So You’ve Got a Book” — How to Go from Idea to Finished 1st Draft in 10 Steps.
And now, pens and keypads to the ready….
www.LarusPress.com or www.sarahtunwordsandvoices.com