I used to have a rule of not discussing my current writing projects because I believed it was bad luck, a jinx. Now that I’ve grown up I can see the value of discussing those projects with anyone who will listen. My husband regularly falls victim to my excited babble. He makes all the right noises at the appropriate moments and occasionally is allowed to make suggestions, but mostly he just listens. He’s learned that I need to sound it out, not because I need feedback necessarily, but because sounding it out allows me to see the (lack of) value of the story. Sometimes my babble amuses him, sometimes it bores him, sometimes it confuses him – especially when I’ve just spent an hour going over a plot with him only to scrap it and propose a new one.
It is often said that writers are lonely people, and yet for many writers the writing experience is seldom a solo one. Every writer has an audience and almost every writer wants to share their work with someone, or many someones. It is true that writing a novel can feel like a solitary and isolated experience, but few novels have ever been written without the influence of any other human being. Think of the many people a writer comes into contact with throughout the process of writing a novel: their own family members, best friends who want to hear about the novel, other writers who may or may not be solicited for advice, library staff who assist you with research, doctors and dentists (my dentist always asks me about my novel and is always probing me for more details), proofreaders and sometimes, if you’re lucky, editors. Writing a novel might feel like a lonely experience at times, but you aren’t alone at all.