How much will you say about your work in progress?

It’s a weird writer thing, the perception that only novices talk – and sometimes, indeed, talking supplants actually writing. We have a big need to feel safe, and telling too much means putting ourselves out there. Someone might expect us to actually perform, and from the initial spark of our project to actually seeing it in print there’s an outrageous amount that’s beyond our control. Some of us get downright superstitious, as if in saying too much we’ll jinx the whole deal.

Dysfunction or survival? Non-fiction projects aren’t such a problem. Even if you don’t have a contract, it’s not that tough to spit out what you’re up to and where you are in the project. But novels are scary. We know how easy it is to fall short.

In this big fat recession, angst piles on angst. If you’re feeling especially masochistic, check out Nathan Bransford’s low-down on the latest blood-letting among publishers. Then remind yourself how people succeed. They take risks. They set goals. They persevere. And they’re not afraid to believe in themselves.

I know, it would be a lot more fun to stick your head in a big mound of snow and hope by the time it melts things have turned around. But have courage and faith, and talk about that novel.

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