Saturday, 28 August 2010

Have you got a writing buddy?

I don't mean someone who reads your work.  That's one sort of buddy and can be helpful.  No, I'm talking about the buddy stalwart, the fellow writer who shares your dream and dreams it with you.

It's easy to "make friends" on the net, and we all belong to groups.  We know lots of other writers.  Strangely, this hasn't really changed the truth that writing is a solitary business.  We are all vulnerable and scared sometimes, and it takes a hell of a lot of confidence to talk about the writing worries that beset us.

The plot ain't going nowhere.  The characters won't come alive.  I've spent hours writing thirty pages of total shite and I'm about to slit my wrists.  My editor hates me.  I hate my editor.  No one is ever going to buy this rubbish.  Why am I doing it?

There is no more valuable buddy than the writing friend - or group - into whose trusting bosom you can pour these intimate writing woes.  These friends hear you when the chips are down, the fat's in the fire and you are mentally pelting off the rooftop and landing in an ungainly broken heap in the garden.  They pick you up, dust you off and set you back on your writing feet.

When hope rises, their fingers are crossed and breaths bated on your behalf.  When it goes right, they share the euphoria, send you cyber champers and hugs, and even empty their pockets to buy your book.  Needless to say, you recriprocate on all fronts. You share daily niggles and doubts, questions and comments, ups and downs.

Most important of all, you know absolutely that anything said is sacrosanct.  It won't get passed on.

Whether one can look for such buddies is a moot point.  But if such a writing friendship offers, I urge you strongly to cultivate it and use it to the full.  Keep it close.  Don't be tempted to widen the group once it has gelled.  Trust is a delicate plant.  Get too many involved and you lose confidence.

My own group of writing buddies is small but tight.  We've been together for years now and the common bond has never been broken.  We've become close friends, and I publicly thank them right now for the incalculable contribution they have made to my writing life.

3 comments:

  1. Just some questions about this ... did you find that your writing group buddies changed from before you were published to after? Also, do you have different groups for different genres of writing?

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  2. "They pick you up, dust you off and set you back on your writing feet."
    Totally agree :) Writing buddies are great for keeping the motivation going.

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    "I don't mean someone who reads your work. That's one sort of buddy and can be helpful."

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on crique buddies/partners. Have you ever had a critique partner of critique group? Or do you consider your editor to be your critique partner?

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  3. Amanda, I met my writing buddies after I was published. I didn't know any pro writers before. I only have the one group and we all help each other whatever the genre. Though we do all write in the same genre as well and I think that helps.

    Janet, I've never had a critique partner or group. But I've got trusted friends who read my work if I need to test it. They are avid readers, which I feel is more to the point. To be honest, I don't consider editors as critique partners. Their job is to shift your book to their requirements. A reader's opinion is not the same sort of response, I think. If I needed real critique help, I'd get a fellow writer or professional critiquer to look at it.

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