com-mu-ni-ca-tion = the imparting or exchanging of information or news
If you're a parent, has this ever happened to you? It's Sunday night and you're told that a special folder or project is due the next day. Or you're told on Friday night that your child was invited to a birthday party the next day and they need a gift, pronto. How long had they kept this information to themselves? Days, I tell you. Days!
Ok, so sometimes kids have a hard time remembering to share information with their parents. These moments are yet another opportunity to teach this valuable lesson--communication makes our lives much easier.
It's been my experience that in real life, and in the writing life, it's so much better to know than to not know. Here are some ways we can improve communication with our writing:
I'm still opening up on this one. In the beginning, when I read the work of others, I held back because I thought, What do I know? Something would jump out at me but I remained silent, fearing my rookie status hadn't earned me a voice in the process. But I was wrong. Each of us has a voice. Each of us has something to offer. Maybe my comment won't be helpful, but why hold back? That's not being fair to my writing buddies. If they're reading something of mine and something, anything, jumps out at them, I want to know about it. The writer then has a choice--change it or not.
Too often I assume the reader knows what I mean. All the story information that's accumulated in my head doesn't have to be dumped onto the page, but the necessary stuff should. A tweak here or there can clarify the message.
Over Communication Blues
I've also been guilty of beating a point over the reader's head. I don't want them thinking, I get it already. This is another area where beta readers make all the difference in the world. They'll holler when points are repetitive.
It helps when we share our goals with friends and family. This way they can cheer us on as we pursue our dreams, and lift us up when we experience setbacks. It also helps them understand why we might need to lock ourselves in a room and flesh out a scene or an idea. And if we're less than attentive at times, they know not to take it personally.
Do you have other ideas for improving our communication? Have you ever experienced a communication breakdown, either with friends and family or through your work? How did you resolve it? And will my sons ever get a handle on this communication thing?