To be honest, I haven’t really worked on fiction writing since the middle of November. That’s about 90% because I’m distracted with having a baby soon (Due a week from today! Eeh!) and 10% because my critique partner has been reading my WIP as I write, and, well…I got stuck on a scene and didn’t know where to take it next and was afraid that I would mess it up and write something that totally sucked and then disappoint my talented and smart critique partner. Whew. So instead of figuring out the scene I’m stuck on, I’ve put all of my energy into nesting and other preparation for my upcoming family addition. That’s easier because there’s no messing up a cleaning or organization project. I mean, you just do it until it’s done. Cut and dry.
But figuring out a fictional scene? That’s unchartered territory. The scene could go anywhere and be anything. Which is cool, but also scary because of the expectation. Dun dun dun! My critique partner is so nice and helpful that even if I gave her a doggy doo doo scene, she’d encourage and help me. But over time, my expectations went from, "This is sort of a first draft, so it might not be great, but let's have fun anyway!" to...
I can never show this.
It makes sense that the pressure to deliver perfect words right off the bat could squelch creativity since part of being creative is making messes. But did you know that even sharing an idea or goal too early can suck the fun out and leave you unmotivated? I read an article recently that said we feel the same sense of accomplishment from talking about something as we do from actually doing the thing. And if you feel accomplished, what’s pushing you? The suggestion was to keep your goal or idea private until you’ve actually made progress.
When it comes to writing, does that mean we should keep book ideas secret? Should we keep our words hidden until we write “the end?” At what point is it okay to share? Because on one hand, sharing my book with my critique partner as I wrote back in November kept me excited and accountable every day. On the other hand, as soon as I was afraid to fail, I lost steam. Maybe it depends on the individual. Maybe it depends on whether you have a carefree “love me or hate me” personality or the kind of personality I have where you want people to like you and what you have to offer. Most likely, everyone could benefit from some balance of both sharing and keeping writing a secret. The trick is finding that balance.
So what do you think? Is it better to keep your ideas and writing private or to share? Which one helps you the most?