Hinting for good luck


Work has begun in earnest on a “new old” writing project. For some reason, it seems like bad luck to try and tell people about it, yet dropping hints doesn’t feel quite so scary? I think somewhere along the way, I’ve come to attach superstition to my writing process and now can’t seem to shake it.

That said, I do often hear that if you want to finish a project, you should beaver away at it in the background and not tell anyone until it’s done. Because talking about what you’re doing can put you in precarious positions such as:

Tricking your brain into thinking it’s done, because you get the desired excitement, respect and/or admiration from the people you’ve told. I guess that’s the psychology behind why sometimes people make promises when caught up in the moment, but then neglect to keep those promises. The incentive is gone because they’ve already been paid off with excitement.

Coming across like you’re open to feedback, which can be remarkably destructive when the feedback comes from people who a) aren’t knowledgeable about what you’re working on, b) aren’t familiar enough with you and your methods to tailor their advice, or c) are salty sour-pusses who speak from a place of jealousy or self-loathing. That said, feedback can be super constructive when it’s from the right peers.

Getting fed up with the project because that time you spent talking was a poor use of effort as it didn’t get you closer to completion. Nor did you get to take a break from it to recharge. The fatigue is real. It’s perhaps the reason why we’re often told to get some space from our work in order to produce higher quality output.

I’m sure there are more precarious positions in the mix, but these seem insidious enough, and I know I’ve run into at least two of them many times over the years.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking about our work, but I think in this case, after getting stuck on this project—code named “SATINE2″—for so many years, I’ll stick to hinting cryptically about it.

Just for good luck.