Writing Advice: Talk it Out


People often say, when you’re experiencing problems in your life, you should talk them through with someone else. Having the perspective of a third party often gives you a new outlook on what you’re facing. That third party can also give you advice for possibly solving those problems. When we bounce ideas around inside the echo chambers of our own minds, we may not find a solution so easily. Talking to other people can bring a problem out into the open and make it seem more conquerable. If this works for everyday problems, why shouldn’t it work for writing as well?

In her post about being in a writing slump, Sarah Perlmutter discusses this very topic. She says, “Talk about why you’re in a slump with someone. There may be more to it…talking to people you trust really helps. It may take you a few conversations, but eventually you’ll get there. Realizing what your roadblocks are helps you drive past them and get back to where you really want to be.”

Just as you might work out relationship problems by talking about them with a friend, you might work past a writing slump by discussing it with someone. Although it might help to discuss a slump with a fellow writer, it’s not completely necessary. In fact, talking to someone who reads books rather than writes them might give you an interesting perspective. If you have a difficult scene to write, a reader might be able to provide you with suggestions that wouldn’t have occurred to you otherwise.

In addition to providing suggestions, sometimes people are just a good sounding board. If you find someone who’s a good listener, you could even solve your problems just by giving voice to them. As you tell a friend about your inability to write, you might realize that what’s really holding you back is stress in another part of your life or the fact that you haven’t read any good books lately. Just by talking about your writing slump, you might discover its root and be able to get past it.

If you’re going through a writing slump right now, try discussing it with a friend. And if you aren’t in a slump, happy writing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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