As a little girl, my mom used to warn me about saying too much. I know I embarrassed her on several occasions. Not on purpose, mind you. I believe that honesty is innate and lying is learned. I may be wrong, but think about how children don't hold back information. Whatever's on their mind flows readily from their mouth. When you have a child in tow, the grocery store clerk (and everyone in line) knows that you colored your gray hair that morning, the postman hears about how you don't want your morning donut getting stuck on your buns, and...well...you try not to think about what their teacher learns.
When I got older, my mom explained that if you divulge too much personal information, people can lose interest in you. Hold back and keep them intrigued. Let them earn your trust before opening up too much. These are fundamental rules of dating and making friends. Rules that, if followed, would solve a few facebook issues. It's not about being dishonest. It's about thinking before you blurt. Little did she know that she was teaching me a ground rule for story telling. No backstory dump. Let the hero and heroine (and reader) get to know each other like they would in real life...a little bit at a time.
My first manuscript began with backstory. I was essentially a child when it came to writing a novel. A novice anxious to pour everything in my head onto paper. I cringe when I think back to my first contest submission. Three chapters of backstory. Ouch. But I learned my lesson (and there's always more to learn). I read craft books, novels in my genre, and I attended as many workshops as I could at my first RWA meeting in D.C. One enormous, painful rewrite of my first manuscript, and I was determined never to make that mistake again. I'm glad I did though.
I think that if I'd immersed myself in learning the craft before ever getting my first story out of my head, my creativity would have been stifled. The fear of doing it all wrong would have taken over. All those mind-boggling writing rules would have triggered self-doubt. I'd have suffered from the 'teacher looking over your shoulder' syndrome and I would never have gotten my first 60,000 words down. It wasn't until I read Stephen King's On Writing, that I understood this. He gave me 'permission' to write without stopping to edit. The King had given me permission to blurt!
Yes, Mom. I can blurt...but like you said, in private. Only on that first draft. After that, I'll edit what I say.