I just got out of a call with my coach. It went well, learned a lot. My coach really honed in on a few fundamental errors that were consistent throughout my writing. It was like a personal lecture, throughout the entire call, I just sat back and listened to her as she went through one of my scenes, pointing out one error after another. And a pattern emerged. I noticed the mistakes fell under 2 or 3 different categories. Over the next week, I will gather my notes and thoughts into a set of blogs: What I learned from #manuscript15.

Here’s the most important lesson learned: Writing is a story being told. It’s a conversation being had. It’s an experience being shared.

Before I learned this, I saw scene writing (and blogging) as “I’m going to write you a story.” And from this mindset — I am the author — I wrote more formally and writerly, rather than conversationally. I wrote by intimating and implying, rather than just simply saying what I want to say. And I wrote forgetting about you, the reader, so that I, the writer, could chase tangents as a form of intellectual jerking off.

What if instead of writers, we are storytellers? You are here next to me, as I tell you what I learned over my recent call. We’re conversing about it. I’m expecting questions, and when I’m able, I answer those questions before you even ask them. I’m making sure you understand each thought before I race to the next. When I get to the end, I’ve made a point. And then I hope you share something with me. And back and forth we grow together.

That’s natural communication. That’s how we evolved to share information. Why should the written word be any different?

Everything else I learned during this last call is a variant of this simple mind shift, from writer to a storyteller. And to drive that home, I want to talk about each of these variants with you. I want you to tell me your thoughts. Was something unclear? What do you find most useful? Can this help you with your writing? I want to start a conversation.