DO YOU HAVE A WRITING BUDDY?
“Anything you do deeply is very lonely. There are many Zen students here, but the ones that are going deep are very lonely.”
“Are you lonely?” I asked him.
“Of course,” he answered. “But I do not let it toss me away. It is just loneliness.”
~ Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg.
Writing is a solitary pursuit. The visualization and the capturing of the inspirations and the impressions, all need to be done in quietude. But many times, we need a certain push that only another writer can understand and provide.
It is a proven fact that accountability can make the difference between the success and failure of a venture. Going on a diet? Going to take 10,000 steps daily? Going to write daily?
Accountability will make you feel like taking action even when you’d rather just watch television or surf the net.
These are buddies. Gym buddies, diet buddies, walking buddies, writing buddies.
Identify one such friend, or two. Whose writing strengths match yours. Then, fix up the time and amount of writing you will do.
It could be timed writing. Or even timed editing. Buddies remind you of your writing goals when you forget them. And they goad you to follow up on your promises you made to yourself and to others. They read what you’ve written. They tell you what is working and what isn’t. When they give a patient hearing to your ideas, the vision becomes clearer and the story becomes stronger. We can never be objective about our own writing. Our buddies point out to us our weaknesses, whether it a skewed POV or a rambling text or even a sequence of plot events which is implausible.
In the earlier days of publishing, editors at the publishing houses took on the role of writing buddy, in a way. Through encouragement and regular but constant goading, they ensured the writers completed writing their books. In fact, well-known Canadian author, Mark Anthony Jarman, in a writing workshop by Avid Learning held at the Kalaghoda Art Festival, revealed it was thanks to this unceasing badgering by his editor that he was able to complete writing most of his books.
Writing buddies are invaluable. If you don’t have one, you need to get one ASAP.
But remember, worthwhile relationships are never one-sided.
Will you be a great writing buddy, too?