Tell Me About Your WIP!

I have a friend who is working to create his own board game.  It’s got a medieval dark fantasy setting, a modular board setup, takes inspiration from various board and video games and has a complex combat system.  I know all of this, and more, because the concept and mechanics for this game are the subject of every third thing out of his mouth.

And there’s nothing wrong with this.  He’s excited about it, I’m looking forward to it, and several of his friends and acquaintances are excited for the games as well.  It also keeps him motivated to continue working on it.  This isn’t just another passing interest of his, but he has a genuine desire to see it through to the end.

Last night he asked me about my own works in progress, and why I don’t talk about them nearly as much as he does.  He brought up a valid point in this conversation by suggesting that the more people aware of your project, the more motivation you have to see it through.  While this may not be true for everyone – if there’s one thing I’ve learned from hanging out in writers’ communities, it’s that every writer is wired differently for inspiration, motivation, and the like – it may be so for me.  While I was active in forums and NaNoWriMo events, I freely talked about the project of the day and my productivity soared.  Once I started to pull back from the community, taking a break whenever I felt tired from work or life, I wrote less.  

Now I look at my current draft of Jasper and feel lost.  Where am I with this story?  Where did I want to go with it?  Before long a lot of my comments on the progress of Jasper were something along the lines of “I’ll write a scene today… no I won’t.”

There were reasons why I was hesitant to share my ideas.  I like to think that I come across well and coherent in a written medium.  The advantage there is that I have plenty of room to edit and reword my thoughts before I hit the “send” button.  Not so in face to face conversation.  I stumble across my words and find it difficult to verbalize my thoughts sometimes, especially when it comes to stories.  It’s possible that I’m not as bad at this as I think I am, but I’m still self-conscious about it.  And with me being unable to talk about my stories coherently, I’m worried that other people won’t think it’s as great as I do or understand it as well.  I’m scared of being judged on my ideas before the project is finished.

I honestly shouldn’t worry about that.  After all, if I can’t handle that now how can I have the courage to present my finished novel at the end?  And if I’m showing complete strangers my chapters and entire novel for critique, I shouldn’t be afraid to have a friend take a look too.

Do you share the progress on your WIP?  Do not share as much as you should?  Does sharing have a positive or negative impact on your progress?

(And also, if you want to tell me about your current WIP as my title suggests, feel free!)

5 thoughts on “Tell Me About Your WIP!

  1. As you mentioned, it’s a different experience for everyone, but I found sharing updates helps hold me accountable to what I’m working on as well as building anticipation for it. The one downside I’ve experienced is people are then waiting for it. If there’s an issue or confusing part about it, it’s generally better to mention it instead of pretending things are going smoothly. People understand the delay then and it can help to strengthen our belief in it.

    It’s kinda funny at the timing of this as I don’t have a WIP at the moment. lol I did officially finish the third novel in my epic fantasy series. I’m hoping to have The Lightwalker ready for release in August or September. 🙂

    1. Congratulations on finishing! I envy your productivity.

      But yes, get enough people excited for your work and then you’re pressured to get something out just to keep from turning them into angry mobs. Just look at what’s happened to George R. R. Martin. He has to hold what’s left of the Starks hostage just to get some peace.

      1. Thanks and agreed. It’s a double-edged sword when it comes to this business. Each Sword and the Flame novel has taken me about a year to write, so it should be interesting depending on how my new novel will be received. This is an interesting ride. lol

  2. Great article! I do find it hard to share my work with others. I think it’s because I don’t think that it’s good enough to be presented. I also, fear that someone will make fun of it or give negative feed back on it. But in the end I do sometimes overcome my fears and realize that it wasn’t so bad after all. I still feel like I have to make it as good as I can before showing it off as well.

    To answer your questions: I sometimes do share my WIP. Sometimes on critique circle but I don’t share it as much. I can say that it has positive and negative impacts on my progress. The positive keep me going while the “negative” helps me grow.

    Thank you for this. 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting! I definitely relate to those fears. But looking back, whenever I shared pieces of my work (especially on CritiqueCircle) I had positive or constructive feedback.

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