05 Dec Last seen … keeping quiet
Last week a couple of people I’d just met asked me about the current book I’m working on. I said I didn’t want to talk about it. They looked at each other and laughed. The conversation dried up and awkwardly, I tried to fill the gap. To apologise, I suppose; to give reasons why I didn’t want to talk about what I was writing.
Afterwards I felt rather unnerved. I’m not sure why that should be as I often tell people that I don’t want to talk about what I’m working on. For people who don’t write, this is often seen as peculiar.
I say things like: ‘I don’t talk about it because it leaks the energy or because it might jinx it.’ I admit, both sound pretty vague.
I’m not alone here but I find I am becoming more, rather than less, guarded. I’ve asked plenty of other writers what they are working on and some are happy to talk, some emphatically won’t. Like most things in the creative realm, there is no right way. It’s what works for you.
For me, writing is a very interior and private process. I prefer to keep the ideas in, allowing them to brew, percolate and wash around, rather than be influenced by other people’s ideas, perceptions or misperceptions. Once I feel confident that what I am writing ‘works’ (and that often changes week by week), then I have one or maybe two trusted ‘writing buddies’ with whom I’ll show my work.
If I talk too much about what I am doing, by the time I sit down to do it, I’ve lost the initial excitement. I’m ‘talked out’.
Of course, once I’ve finished, I have to share what I’ve done with the wider world. Once the book is ready, I accept it will no longer be my own. It will become public. Some writers tweet about their writing by adding #wip (work in progress) to their tweets. They like to tweet the best lines of their day’s work—no more than 140-characters—as a way to connect with other writers and invite them into the creative process. I couldn’t think of anything worse. I like to wait til it’s ready, til it’s cooked, and then I’ll share.
What about you? Do you like to talk about your writing or prefer to keep mum?