It’s been a busy couple of weeks for this starving author. Reading, reviews, planning for the future, reunions with family … oh RIGHT WRITING TOO! Yes, despite all the blogging and reviewing and general nonsense, I’m still, you know, writing and it was today’s work that reminded me of a very important thing to avoid as a writer, something that I think also applies to many other things in life. Avoid echo chambers!
What’s an echo chamber, you may ask? Well, physically, it’s just like it sounds: a room where you can hear your own echoes from what you say. Really, though, when I talk about them, I mean in a more metaphorical sense. What I mean is engaging in situations where you have no outside feedback, when you write and create with only yourself as the sole judge and editor.
Now, despite what you may think, you as an author don’t always have the best ideas. Your core concepts might sparkle but there’s a good chance you’ll make a poor decision somewhere along the way as you write your works. There’s also a decent chance you’ll catch it on your own. Your gut will nag at you and you’ll realize, in the end, that it was a bad idea. The problem comes in when you don’t catch it or, just as bad, when you are nervous about an idea only for it turn out to be a great one and you take it out.
This is just one of the many reasons why you, the author, are your worst editor and your worst beta reader. YOU already know what you mean and what you want to say. Left to your own devices, your brain will often change up the input as you try to look back over it, filling in blanks and mentally correct typos. This is bad, this will mess up what you do! It’s hard enough to get a perfect book (I haven’t managed it yet myself!) WITH outside help. So don’t try to go it alone, relying on yourself as the best judge of things. Get help. Get support. Get editors. Get beta readers.
Don’t get lost in the sound of your own voice in the echo chamber!