Monday, October 4, 2010

What she was trying not to say...

A writer should have good communication skills…right? Their communications are crystal clear, precise, and easy for anyone to understand.

I have a confession to make. The other day in our bi-monthly revision meeting, Becky and I both realized that rather than revising one chapter every two weeks to turn in to our critique group, we need to get several chapters ahead so we can start up writing again.

And we each said so. But not in the same words. I didn’t know what the hell she was trying to say and she didn’t understand what I was saying. Until it clicked in both of us. Then we both felt stupid for being so stupid. We agreed that we need to meet more often and produce more. The problem is that I haven’t been carrying my share of the load lately. I know it. Becky knows it.

She was trying to extract from me a commitment to put in the time it takes. But she was trying to do so in a way that wouldn’t make me mad, and I don’t know why—she’s usually pretty blunt. I thought she might break an ankle dancing around her words, trying not to piss me off. She was so cute at it that I chose not to understand. So she tried again, being very diplomatic, even political about it. Same result. She looked tormented, trying to regroup and find, yet another way, to say it.

So I let her off the hook. “What you’re trying not to say is that I need to get off my ass.”

Her relief spilled into a flood of laughter as she agreed that that was exactly what she was trying to say—or not to say.
This communication thing is tricky. 

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