One of the new things on this blog I‘d like to try is Writing Wednesdays. The idea will be to talk about something I’ve learned or found interesting or read about the craft of writing as well as updates about the novel I’m writing. Maybe I’ll even have some guest posts. Now, I’m no Hemingway. Heck, I’m not even Snookie since she’s published and I’m not. But I am actively trying to learn about this whole writing thing and I’ve picked up some tidbits along the way. And I’d love people to offer their opinions and maybe further educate me. So, let me know what you think. We’ll try it a while, see if it gels.
So you have a shiny new idea for a story or a novel or a blog post or a memoir piece and it’s awesome. I mean AWESOME! You know it is. It’s amazing, fresh, once it’s written, it will be the stuff of legends. They’ll throw a parade in your honor, maybe even name a holiday after you. Not like Christmas or Cesar Chavez Day where the kids get off school. Maybe more like Flag Day or Arbor Day, but still, a holiday. You can’t wait to share.
So who do you tell? Your spouse? Your parents? Relatives? Surely they’ll think your novel about flying Amazonian sea monkeys is as amazing as you do. Maybe you have a writing partner you can’t wait to tell your memoir piece idea about the time you were an infant and your mom let go of the stroller and your stroller was hit by a bus and you landed in the gorilla exhibit at the nearby zoo and the mother gorilla adopted you and how you’re going to tie that into your own underwater, SCUBA birth experience. Maybe they have some suggestions. Plus, you can’t wait to see their reactions. Of course, they’ll think it’s awesome, because it is, but you want to see the joy in their eyes, maybe even a few tears, when they realize the awesomeness.
Here’s the problem with that. Once the idea’s out there, it can lose it’s shine. It gets dirty, people throw their suggestions at it leaving dents, that new car smell goes away, and suddenly, it’s not as exciting. Then we start to write and it’s just not the same as we imagined. It’s lost something in the translation from spoken word to written word. It sounded a lot better when we talked about it than it does when we read what we wrote. That’s really the trick and beauty of writing, being able to let someone else see what’s inside your head with only words. No changes in your voice or facial expressions, no gestures, just words.
Instead of blabbing about the idea, pushing it out into the world before it’s ready to go, we need to protect it. Nurture it. Write it down. Re-read it and edit it until we’re happy what we have written on the paper is what we imagined in our heads. Then, after it’s no longer a newborn, and it’s gotten through the terrible two’s, and preschool, and kindergarten, and it’s maybe not an awkward early adolescent with a fragile self-esteem, then it’s time to share. Then is when suggestions and criticism help it grow and mature and blossom into the full-fledged young adult ready to be shoved out of the nest.
This can lead to some awkward conversations with people who know you and know you’re working on something.
Them: “Whatcha writing?”
You: “La la la la. I can’t hear you.” *hands over ears*
Them: No really, what’s it about. (trying to look over your shoulder)
You: Grrrrrr. (blocking your computer with your body)
Them: Okay, okay. I’ll leave you alone. Have some more coffee or something. Sheesh.
Alright, maybe we aren’t that bad, but we may need to be vague or tell people we’ll share after it’s written.
What do you think? Do you share your ideas before writing and find it helpful? Do you keep them secret?