The Dreaded Question

On Tuesday, I talked about my favorite sentence, which I guess would actually be in second place. First might be, “Yes, I would like some more chocolate.”

A natural response to “I’m working on my novel” is “What’s it about?” I’ve discovered in the past month that I hate this question.

In my “Tell Everyone” post, I said that sharing your writing projects with others is a wonderful, necessary thing to do. And I full-heartedly believe that, but at this stage of my novel, I have no earthly idea what’s going on. I’m currently 10 pages in and working on the second chapter, but I still don’t know.

I can’t decide if I want to create an outline or keep letting it write itself either. If I had an outline, then I’d already know what was going on and I’d be happy to tell you what I’m writing.

All I can tell you right now is that I have a female protagonist named Jackie and that it’s going to be a fantasy novel.

So, when someone asks me what my book is about, I yell, “I don’t know,” throw things at them, and run away, crying. At least, that’s what I do in my head. In real life, I say, “I don’t know….” and frantically attempt to evade any other questions about my project and change the subject.

How do you answer this question? Am I the only one who feels like it’s such a big issue?

In reality, I know more about what I’m working on right now than what I told you in the paragraph before last, but I don’t want to share yet. I’m not ready to–I think it’s still too raw. And I’m afraid people will think the concept is silly.

Tell Everyone

One of my favorite sentences to say right now is, “I’m working on a novel.” And I’m sure that almost every writer loves the feel of, “I’m writing/working on my novel/poetry/short stories/non fiction/etc.”

I love this sentence because

  1. It holds me accountable. If I tell my family, friends, coworkers, and random people I meet this sentence, I better actually work on it. Because, at some point, one of them is going to say “How’s that story coming?” or “I saw you on Facebook all day–why weren’t you writing?” or “When’s that book of yours coming out?”
  2. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.¬†This is especially true since I spent most of 2013 not writing much at all. After graduating college and having a lull in my writing, this sentence makes me feel proud of myself, what I’m doing, and what I’m capable of.
  3. It makes me feel good.¬†If I say it aloud often enough, I’ll start believing myself. And then, I’ll be in awe with myself…being a writer writing and being in love with the fact that you’re a writer writing is a beautiful thing to hold in your heart.
  4. The look on non-writers’ faces… I know this sounds bad, but there is a difference in the way that writers and non-writers will react to this sentence. They’ll both be super proud of you and encouraging, but some non-writers can’t wrap their heads around such a big writing project.

These are just a few reasons why I share my work and why I think that every writer should share their projects.

Thoughts?