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The Power of a Conversation About Your WIP

>By Molly Borter

The writing process is filled with hits and misses, twists and turns, and proud moments and disappointments. For the most part, the process came easy to me during my college years. I listened intently during lectures and made writing into a solitary experience, one in which I would sit in my silent room and let my own characters and creations float onto the page. I somehow managed to successfully integrate my professor’s tips into my pieces, would get mostly positive workshop feedback, and then continue the process all over again.

It wasn’t until my final year at school that I realized my biggest flaw as a writer was my lack of conversation. During this time, I worked as a writing tutor helping students of all backgrounds talk about their writing, whether it was a brainstorming session on a personal essay or a discussion about dialogue flow in their romance novel. During our discussions, we would work together, both recognizing the areas that were going well and the components of their stories that were lacking. The conversations we had during their process made them that much more confident, their writing that much more focused, and the constant back-and-forth of ideas provided an alternate perspective in my own pieces.

Conversations are often taken for granted; most of us only talk about our writing once it is a finished product and not a work in progress. As adult writers, we have editors and family members to mention where we think our latest book’s plot may lead. These passing mentions in an email or at the dinner table are great, but when’s the last time you really sat down with someone in the middle or beginning of this process to tell them your fears in your character’s believability? When you needed help to overcome a huge writer’s block? When you finally created the perfect love scene between your hero and heroine? These concerns and accomplishments should be shared before, and not after, the book is printed.

Opening up that dialogue—no matter how experienced you are—is a healthy and significant part of the writing process. Whether it be with a colleague, with a spouse, a novelist friend, or a complete stranger, it is so vitally important to hear feedback, because we walk a fine, stressful line between finding a place in our minds where our stories come alive and actually letting the words on the page take readers to that same alternate world. Writing is our own, but it also thrives from being a collaborative experience, which in turn makes your job as a writer that much more entertaining, complex, and compelling.

My challenge to you is one that I continue to struggle with: Leave your messy computer desk, come out of that writing nook in the corner of your room, and talk about your writing. Although it may be difficult to expose yourself so early in the process, your clear mind, fresh perspective, and faithful readers will thank you for it.

Molly Borter graduated with a degree in English Writing at DePauw University and works as a writer in Indianapolis, IN. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, blogging about beauty products and fashionable sunglasses, and spending time with her family and friends.

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