D is for….Discussion

The other day I wrote about the importance of beta readers in supporting my writing. Today I’m giving mad props to another group – the people who have been willing to discuss my work with me. My writing career has been marked by a degree of surrealism – there’s still a part of me that has a tiny out-of-body experience whenever I refer to myself as a writer. I think I’m waiting for everybody in the room to smirk and say, “Yeah right. Now what do you really do?”

So whenever anyone takes the time to have an honest-to-goodness discussion about my work, it sticks with me. It reminds me that there are people in the world who have confidence in my abilities to tell a compelling story. This in turn gives me the confidence to approach a blank screen and the doubts in my head every morning.

Some the best discussions have come from people who haven’t read anything I’ve written, but who are hooked by the premise of whatever novel I’m writing and off we go. I’ve spent hours around a bonfire, in a rocking chair in someone’s office, in a coffee shop and once on a rooftop garden talking about the worlds I created in my head.

My favorite discussions are the ones I’ve had with beta readers, however, sitting around a hightop at the local bar or on a walk in an arboretum or on an abandoned road in Wyoming, discussing the intricacies of my characters and their lives. For a time, my inner life becomes real to someone else, and that connection is magical.

What kinds of discussions inspire and motivate you, whether you’re a writer or not?