Straight Talk About Writing From A Not So Straight Writer
February 2, 2015
I’ve been told I’m not the greatest at straight talking. I’m a rather cryptic person when it comes to my personal Facebook page, because if you don’t know what’s going on I’m really not in the mood to explain it to you. Except this concept doesn’t work all that well when it comes to communication, everyone has expectations when it comes to communication.
Everyone needs the ‘straight talk.’
Writers need open, direct styles of communication, and given I’m not a person who was open about their life in general for a long time, straight talking doesn’t come naturally- so this is a bit of straight talk from a not so straight writer.
I hate confrontations, and I feel worse after having one. The reason is because I wasn’t clear about what I wanted or needed, hence the need for someone else to tell me directly I’ve miscommunicated. I set up a lot of writing goals, and a lot of daily personal goals, only to find out, well no, I didn’t use that plain, direct communication about my plans for the day. I didn’t communicate to others, and it needed to be mentioned to them.
How does straight talking help a writer?
It all boils down to who you are talking to. My editor on Living a Life of Writing is a great communicator, except when it comes to me. It might be because I’m more of an outgoing person than he is, but it also can be because I seem like I’m doing one thing and saying another. We work as a team, and thankfully, I’ve learned it’s always best to listen to him when he says something, because when this happens he’s being direct. When it comes to my writing, he makes it work, and work well.
It’s saved this blog from more than a few mishaps in the last while, but it required a very blunt approach. It also has proven to be I need to be a more straight talking person in both my writing and my life- because I can be blunt, but still lack the part where it’s direct and open. It’s much the same in my writing, I need the lightning and not a flicker.
A few days ago, I was looking over my first chapter of my fan fiction book. I was busy with other commitments over the month of December and I was finishing the actual writing of the book. Needless to say, it was time I got back to edits. My first chapter, is okay, it’s written but it lacks the direct writing it needs before it’s published. With some heavy duty edits, it will be better. The best thing I can say about edits is with time and some space you can see a lot more mistakes you made on some of your drafts. There is a book I have to write, and I have to edit it to make it better. Book reviewers who love books understand the best books are the one most edited.
Sometimes, we need the straight talk from our editors. Not the ‘oh I’m trying to keep your style the way it is,’ but the ‘this is not close to your best, and I’m going to rip it apart.’ No writer likes to hear that sort of straight talk, but it is either them or your readers. With my first book, my first editor was very much ‘hands off’ they corrected some spelling errors, but didn’t give me the needed ego shock. They weren’t willing to rip the book, or my blog, apart the way it needed. You have to say it right- be open and direct.
My second editor of my book, came at the right time. She took one look at it and demanded more. We had a deadline to meet so it is a good first book, but looking back I wish the claws would have come out and made it stronger. We had a straight talk about what I can be as a writer. This was painful, honest, and open. It probably resulted in my ego taking a pounding, but it also resulted in the ‘aha’ moment when I realized I needed to be open in all parts of my life if I wanted to be a better writer.
Does a direct, open, honest type of communication help your writing?
Yes, open communication helps anyone’s writing. I was discussing the Imitation Game with one of my friends who had seen it a few days before me. What struck us the most was while Turing was blunt, and to the point, he wasn’t direct about his plans on the machine. He doesn’t see the need to direct communications unless he needs to confront someone with it.
Alan Turing: The Enigma is an well named book, because it shows how communication can changed, and figured out. The problem is most readers don’t care to ‘figure it out’ they want it now they want the open connection you can give them, and this will help your writing the more direct you are.