Writers Polling People

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Here is the danger of polling people and the difference between polling and constructive advice. If you are in the middle of writing a book or a screenplay, you don’t need advice. You are on the hot seat. In the fire. You don’t need someone to tell you that you should be reading other books or scripts to “see how they did it” while you are in the middle of gutting your soul to write. It is important in the creative process to not make yourself susceptible to doubt because it blocks you from trusting your heart. It’s important to lean into your heart and start to understand the actual questions you are looking for within yourself as a writer, or more importantly with fiction, the questions your characters are asking of themselves! Once you are done, and you have a first draft, you can go out and get specific feedback from highly referred skilled people (editors), versus general comments from others when you say, “Should I have written this at all?” When you ask that kind of polling question, or another good one to avoid is “Will I ever get published or produced?”, you are opening yourself up to every horror story from all the people whose books and screenplays failed to see the light of day or were not finished at all. Polling does not equate to a sum amount of good experiences.

Why is that? Well, it’s simply human nature. People love to tell horror stories. Take any woman who has been through any kind of childbirth complications. She will tell pregnant you about them “to help you avoid” the same problem, but in the process, infuse you with great despair and fear for your unborn baby. I have learned in all areas of my personal life, general polling of people about dating or money just begs for global statements of extreme caution. I then have to go the opposite direction and be the most hopeful person in the room because the discussion is so darn depressing.

Here’s all you should know about writing. You don’t need a poll for this. You had the desire to write and you are writing. If you are asking people why you should be writing, that is a question only you can answer for yourself. My suggestion… write about it and the answers lie there.

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Kim O'Hara

About Kim O'Hara

Prior to launching her business A Story Inside as a book and story coach, Kim spent her adult life as a producer and screenwriter of independent film, developing countless projects from script to screen. On the never-ending quest to know more about writers and writing, she has taken short fiction, satire and screenwriting classes at UCLA, Stanford Writers’ Lab and San Jose State. To hone her skills in comedy and collaboration, she survived an Improv Intensive at IO West. She was also the Editor of a prominent food journal, charged with the task of making subjects like antibiotics in meat a riveting read. She is passionate about intuitively and mindfully connecting women entrepreneurs to their hidden greatness and help them achieve their unrealized dream to write a book. Her children are the root of her existence, her true teachers.