On my way home from work yesterday, I got a call from my roommate, who had news so exciting, it couldn’t wait the ten minutes it usually takes for me to travel from point A to point B, and shortly after I arrived, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate her promotion at her job. And we had a blast: beers, really great burgers, and an absolutely amazing pumpkin bread pudding (It’s October, so there has to be pumpkin in everything, right?). Most of all, though, it was the discussion that made the evening, talking about the wide range of topics we usually cover (most of them ones that would probably make the people at the next table wonder what the hell we were on). Of the topics discussed, one was my writing, and it wasn’t just a brief conversation on the status of it or what I’ve been working on but a full-on babble about plots and scopes, characters and conventions, this, that, and the other thing.
I’ve missed that. Getting to pour my thoughts out onto this blog is one thing, but it really made me realize how important it is for an author to have a sounding board, someone to just listen to them as they let their imagination and their ideas sweep them up in a verbal regurgitation of all their thoughts and ideas. In the halcyon day called college, I even had a whole group of people who got together for the sole purpose of being each other’s sounding bards and editors. Lately, though, between work, the move, a problematic turn in romantic relationships, and what have you, my brain has been scattered and distracted from my work, but getting out with my roommate and just throwing thoughts and ideas and plans at her and getting her approval or suggestions was just such a great feeling. It recharged my love of the Big Sweeping Epic, as well as sparked a few ideas on some other projects that have been a little faltering.
Writers are storytellers. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we need someone or a group of someone’s to share our ideas with, to spread out some of all those things going on in our heads to prevent ourselves from going crazy or having so many thoughts in there that we don’t know where to start on sorting them out. Who is your sounding board? I’m very lucky to have a roommate who will not only listen to my ramblings, but also offer her thoughts and feedback and inspire me even more than I was to begin with. So who have you got to help bounce all that stuff in your head off of? Do you agree that having an outlet for just “plot hashing,” as I like to call it, or merely talking about your writing is an essential component to success?