Who Do You Talk To About Writing?

When my fellow writer—let’s call her Amanda—popped onto my Zoom screen, she was hunched in her chair, listless, and slightly cynical.

For months, she’d been trying to work on her novel.

She knew what she had to do.

She knew the scene she wanted to work on.

She had a writer friend she checked in with weekly…and still she was spending her writing time checking email and looking at social media and feeling the self-loathing grow like a thorny hedge, choking out her creativity.

The Heart of the Problem

As we started to talk it became clear to me that the problem wasn’t with her work ethic (she’s worked as a writer for decades) or her identity (“writer” is central to her identity and she has no problem saying it out loud).

The problem was technical: she didn’t know enough about the structure of the story she wanted to tell; about reader expectations; about how to arrange her beautiful writing into a compelling, novel-length story.

And that is a problem that can be fixed.

But it’s hard to fix alone at your desk (or alone inside your brain).

As I asked more questions, and Amanda answered, I watched her sit up straighter, lean in towards the camera—she may have even clapped her hands in glee—as the true problem emerged.

What Happened Next

With the problem diagnosed, it was a snap for us to put together a plan of action to tackle it.

She’s ready to write, again.

Better than that, she’s excited to write again.

She was so happy she called me a genius.

Not A Genius

I’m (probably) not a genius.

But I am a coach.

I study and practice storytelling all day long.

And I ask really good questions.

Your Turn

  • If you’re stuck on your writing, and you don’t understand why
  • If you’re making progress slower than you’d like
  • If you don’t know what the next step is, for you

Do you have someone you can talk to about your writing, and who asks excellent questions?

Leave a comment and let me know