Improving My Craft

Talking about What I Write

I don’t know why I find it so difficult to talk to others about what I write. Whenever the opportunity arises, the instinct to shift the subject off myself and back to the other person is nearly impossible to shake, even when it’s clear that the other person genuinely wants to know more.

There’s an irrational feeling in my gut that no one really wants to know about my story and that it would be impolite to spend time talking about my own ideas. I find myself stammering over the words, backtracking into backstory, and apologizing. Yes, apologizing!

I’m sure there is a sociological reason why my instinct is to apologize and cede the floor to others rather than talk about my own work, but I’m not sure I want to fully unpack that here.

Suffice to say, if I want to pitch  anything, I better pray the elevator gets stuck.

None of this is fair to the people who are interested in my work. In the most recent instance, a writer friend was helping me through the outline I’m (still) working on. Not only was he genuinely interested, he needed to know so he could help me. Still, the words got caught somewhere between my brain’s left hemisphere and my mouth. Probably chasing the butterflies in my stomach.

I’m not sure why this is so difficult for me. I don’t fear critique. I thrive on good, hard criticism. I don’t believe my ideas are stupid. Sure, I deal with the crushing self doubt that many writers have, but if I truly thought my stories were awful, I would never send them out to sell, and if I thought my novel was that bad, I’d scrap it.

The issue seems to be in my own mind, and it’s something I need to work on. I suspect the only thing that will fix this is practice which will mean lots of stammering and will require lots of patience from my friends. Thank goodness for patient friends.

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