Monday, October 01, 2012

On the nature of talking....

A friend asked me what I've learned from the blog entry challenge this week. As a word of warning, this may get ramblier than other posts, but rambling can be a good thing; I'm writing this entry in Write or Die's web app so that i can't fall into the trap of self editing myself into oblivion. See, right there, the two instances of "self" in the same sentence. I would go back and get rid of that but Very Bad Things will happen here if I don't so that will come into play later.

Back to the original question. I didn't know how to take that at first. I didn't set out to make this a teaching tool, but hey, unexpected opportunities. What I'd say I recognized the most is that I am a talker. Talking and thinking are linked for me. If I can talk about it, then it's real and I can do it.

So, my friend asked, does talking about writing translate to writing and finishing stories? For me, yes. It does. Think about having the best racehorse in the world. Now don't feed him. What's going to happen? How is he going to run? Not very far or long after missing enough meals and the running he can do isn't going to be up to the usual standard. Kind of the same thing here.

While there are awesome writers who will go from initial idea to finished first or second draft before they breathe a word to anybody, I am not one of them. Everybody has their own right way to work, and for me, that involves talking. My friend did ask if the talking works if nobody replies; this is after I mentioned that blog entries seem to count as talking to my writer-brain so that there will likely be more entries in the future. (Since I also seem to do very well with accountability - if I tell the internet, then I have to do it- there will also likely be more challenges in the future. It can be a thing.

Best of all is sitting down with another writer, one on one, and talking about writing. Talk about their stuff, talk about my stuff, some back and forth, give and take and I'm good to go. Give me a beverage of choice, often some form of black tea with milk and sweetener in this autumnal weather, perhaps a nibble or two, and let me run, because I'm fed. So if that can be something learned, then there's that. It works for me, and it doesn't have to work for anybody else, because we all have our own best ways to go about this business of making the voices in our heads pay rent.

Is it a magic pill that will make everything all betters all at once? No. I don't think there is such a thing. It's a process. It is difficult for a talker to work when there isn't someone else to talk to/with; it can be done, theoretically, but it's a whale of a lot harder and will take a lot longer, and our talker is going to be worse for wear by the time it's done.

Already over my projected length for this entry, but in short, it's a process. For me, talking works, and I can talk here, so I will. You have been warned.

What have you learned about your own process over the years?


Roberta said...

Great Post Anna!
I agree, I used to meet once a week with my critique partner at a restaurant, cafe and we would brainstorm, go over our latest pages, talk and talk about the process, why we didn't meet our goal, why we exceeded it (a far more rare ocurance) and all aspects of our writing lives. She moved to far away to meet every week. I miss those weekly meeting more than I could ever imagine!

Anna Bowling said...

Thanks, Roberta. I'm sorry your partner moved too far away to meet in person every week. Hopefully there's a new partner in your future. Keep writing!