Do you need a writing buddy? What do they do for you anyway? How do you find one?
Writing is a solitary business and often lonely. You do research, you interview people and you begin to work in your “created” world. You can call it a novel, a non-fiction project or a fiction book or a screenplay or whatever. You define the parameters of your project and there you stay until you are finished. Sounds easy? Sometimes it is but mostly, not so much. Now you know why some authors write series. They have created characters and a world they like and want to revisit. Only another writer or creator of original work really understands this. It’s a huge responsibility being relevant and interesting and staying true to your craft. You also must remain true to your voice, to your subject and to your readers. Sometimes it’s a tall order.
Writing buddies are honest, they encourage you, they listen when you can’t find the story string again and they sometimes make suggestions. Often, it’s as simple as a phone call to say for the next three hours you will be working on some chapters and they will be doing the same thing on their project, each sending a text or quick email encouraging each other on how they are progressing. [I’ve known of writers on the opposite sides of the world who do this.] Geography is no barrier. These buddies can be a great help in letting you know how the work sounds or as a consumer, did they get it. They are usually not editors or critics. Writing buddies help you produce, more like mentors and yes, a friend.
Linda McGinn Waterman is a friend of mine and a successful Motivational and Christian Writer. [See info below]. As I am more mainstream thriller and suspense, Linda is the author of more than twenty books. She is the creator of Refreshed Women (RefreshedWomen.com), a budding international organization that encourages women to use their gifts, skills and abilities to “passionately pursue purpose” every day, enabling them to experience true fulfillment in every season of life. Her newly released book, “Dancing in the Storm: Successfully Managing Change” (Amazon.com) offers strategies for coping with the chaos that we, as writers, confront every day.
We talk often about our projects and share insight into each other’s genre. Not being in the same genre helps since there is no direct competition, yet we’re both professionals and appreciate each other’s writing. Our suggestions are helpful and thought-provoking not hurtful or arrogant. In the past when I had to write a difficult passage, she was a great sounding board as she is someone who has been there. Her insight is most helpful and encouraging. If a chapter needs help, she’ll suggest something. She’ll also let me know if I nailed it. Those are the best workdays. I do the same for her as—reciprocation is key for writing buddies.
Choosing a writing buddy is not easy so don’t be disappointed if it takes a while to find one. There are organizations on the net and individuals who seek out buddies from writer’s groups or book clubs. It doesn’t have to be another author but if you are going to remain in the field of writing, it helps. They know the same highs and lows. If you find someone who doesn’t work out, keep looking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts 145,900 American “writers and authors” in the U.S. I suspect that number is really triple considering writers who are not yet employed as writers. You’ll find somebody. –Alexandra Hamlet
A great writing Buddy…
Linda McGinn Waterman
Refreshed Women, Linda McGinn Waterman, http://www.refreshedwomen.com/
“Dancing in the Storm: Successfully Embracing Change” by Linda McGinn Waterman,