Wanted: Writing Partner
Contributor
Written by
Julie Jeffs
October 2010
Contributor
Written by
Julie Jeffs
October 2010
"Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself."Franz Kafka I’m trying to decide the best way to proceed. The revisions continue, I fought through a particularly rough part (honesty about others and myself can sometimes be painful). It is slow going, I get on a roll and do well for a couple of days then get in the dumps and can’t seem to write a single word. I’m not complaining though. I’m trying to take the bull by the horns, as it were, and figure out how to make myself the most productive I can be. Well at least in terms of my writing. Productivity everywhere else in my life is just too big a job to tackle right now. When I was first working on the first draft, I was in a writer’s workshop. They were six-week workshops but I went to the same workshop facilitator about three or four times in a row, then I also worked with her privately. It kept me writing. Having that looming deadline within which I had to produce something to read at the following week’s workshop kept me going. Guilt can be a powerful motivator. As usual I wanted to be the pleaser, didn’t want to be the “one” who showed up unprepared or empty-handed. So I wrote, and revised and wrote some more. It got me a completed first draft. I didn’t always like the comments about my writing. Other days I didn’t like that there were hardly any comments at all. (Yes, I know, I’m kinda hard to please.) I, in fact, didn’t always “like” all the other members of the workshop. Well I didn’t necessarily know them that well; I just didn’t have much in common with them and couldn’t get into whatever it was they were writing. But, I put forward my best effort to be helpful, constructive, and supportive, whether I liked their writing or not. They may not have “liked” me either, but they were kind, helpful, and respectful of my work. I haven’t been to a workshop in several months. The facilitator has been busy trying to do silly things, like make a living. (Huh, who would have thought?) My friend E. Victoria Flynn over at Penny Jars (can I call you that Victoria? I mean we really only know each other virtually), recently wrote about getting together with a couple other women writers to talk about writing, about life about whatever. I was soooo jealous. Side note: If you get a chance you really shouldn't miss the opportunity to meet EVF and her blog Penny Jars. She is an amazing woman, a great poet and writer and a very cool mom to adorable kids -- in fact she's the kind of mom most kids probably wish they had. It made me think; maybe I need to find a writing partner. Someone I could bounce ideas off or who will offer an opinion or suggestions. Maybe someone who will just offer a friendly ear, or we can chat over coffee. Maybe someone who will hold me accountable to help keep me writing. Or even someone I could write with, work together on a project? I have friends (okay one friend) who I turn to often for advice, for help, for support (thank you MendiD). But I am starting to think maybe I need to try and find someone locally; someone that I can meet with in a coffee shop, in person, who will give me “that look” if I get flakey and don’t write or am not honest in what I write. Someone I might see face to face if I am not dependable, someone I couldn’t avoid. Scary thought. It means, at least in the beginning, putting myself out there to a stranger and risking rejection. Sometimes wish I could just get on a plane, fly to Arizona where I know there is a friendly face, or even to Wisconsin and visit in person that virtual friend for some good coffee and writing support. I’m kind of tired of the solitariness of writing and feel the need for the warmth of some company. This post also posted at Beginning a Life at 50.

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Comments
  • Anjuelle Floyd

    I've tried letting go of this discussion, as if I need one more thing on my list to do. But there is so much heart in all the posts.

    If anyone is interest in meeting on Skype for one session to just see how it goes--we'll just talk about our writing life, our writing goals, where we are in moving down the path to achieving them, light stuff so we can all feel safe.

    So again, if anyone is interested, please e-mail me @ nepadfwriter@yahoo.com

    To read more about me visit, anjuellefloyd.com

    Peace and Blessings.

    anjuelle
    www.anjuellefloyd.com Imagination is the key to freedom.
    The author's job is to cultivate and nurture her or his imagination and that of others.

  • Mona Fitch-Elliott

    In some ways I can relate. I have always been into ,but being part of a group has made me take my desire to write more seriously. They have given me a lot of feedback and inspiration. It is the encouragement I need. It is like a reality check...does this make sense? Does this seem authentic? Sometime alone I get to fearing I am just in my head and somehow tricking myself. I kind of need to know that a reader can relate and gets what I am writing. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does for me. If I were some where where there wasn't any group I would try to start one. Run an ad and see if there are others out there needing support or feedback. Our group has had to limit people's time because some people will just dominate or just make sure we all get out 15 minutes...I think we do learn from others writing too and from hearing the comments meant for others. It is all good. It is interesting that I only do really write alone but I need to bring my gift to the table and say this what I did and be able to talk about why. I reacently got really stuck and found a solution. My group helped me see that the solution was the same one a really famous writer had come too. That made me feel good that I had worked in a way that was professional some how.

  • Anjuelle Floyd

    Wow!!! I have to weigh in on this. First Julie, thanks so much for your honesty.
    Writing is very lonely.
    And while I've moved beyond needing to go to writing groups, I really long to connect with people who are trying to stay accountable to themselves.
    I don't live in Nashville, nor Tennessee, but I am originally from North Carolina--some say that American southerners are born writers. And the editor that I worked with on my novel is from Tennessee was great, Yvonne Perry. I don't know if this helps.
    But I would love to do something with you, June and all the others below.
    Could we try to do something on Skype???

    I'm game.

    Thanks so much.

    Peace and Blessings.

    anjuelle
    www.anjuellefloyd.com Imagination is the key to freedom.
    The author's job is to cultivate and nurture her or his imagination and that of others.

  • June Phyllis Baker

    Hi Julie,
    I'm going through the same thing. I belonged to an online crtic group it folded almost a year ago. I've got two separate projects going and getting now where with either one of them. I wish I knew more writers in my home town.
    June

  • The Salonniere

    This is the most beautiful and moving demonstration of what She Writes can be that I have seen in some while. Thanks to all who have reached out to Julie, and know that we are absolutely NOT GOING TO STOP until we have figured out a way to make finding writing partners, and groups, and buddies -- you name it -- easy and fulfilling through the community that is She Writes. That is what it is for. Thanks for sharing this post so that we could share it with all.

  • Denyse Loeb

    I admin a small online writers workshop, if you're interested. You can decide what to crit (only need 2 a month) and how involved you want to be. And we actually have openings! http://www.dreaminginink.com/

    I've tried r.l. groups and just can't seem to "fit" when I can find them! Other groups I've tried online are either too big (we keep our membership capped at 35 because too much more than that is crazy to manage and people feel like they get lost in the masses of people) or are too selective of their members. DII just wants to help people become better writers, and we have just enough of a turnover to not get too comfortable with each other. ;)

  • Jodi O\'Donnell-Ames

    Wow. I can relate. Not sure where you are located but I find that one writing group is not enought. All of my jobs (yes, I have three) are solitary. I have numerous writing projects in progress and am told that they all have so much potential. What I want it to work with someone, co-edit... I find that I fluctuate through fits of great success then days of writer's block. Usually, post rejection letter for the latter- like why am I wasting my time?

  • Marsha Ross

    Hi Julie, I don't know where you live but I'm in the same boat. I keep asking all the writers I know if there is a local group for me to join or just one soul to collaborate with. I keep paddling solo but I get tired going alone. BTW, I'm in Sacramento.

  • Karen Burgess

    Hi! I am in a writing group and we are having our ups and downs. I blogged about the most recent exit here. I enjoy everyone in the group, but I only take one person's opinion really very seriously. (Although when they all agree it's pretty clear!) We only meet every three weeks and it has occurred to me that I'd get more done if we met more frequently...

  • Ana Sharma

    Hi Julie,

    Do you want somebody to bounce ideas on line or on the phone/skype/etc? Or do you
    want a physical presence to go out for a coffee over the manuscripts?

    Let me know what you have in mind. Maybe we can plan something fun (and evil) with
    each other's manuscripts/stories.

    Ana

  • Brooke Linville

    I know exactly how you feel... including the bit about not even liking the people in your writing groups! I take classes just to give myself deadlines. I do like the feedback as well, though sometimes I very much disagree with it!

    Idaho isn't exactly a place brimming with writers, certainly not like NYC where I met with a group weekly for writing and conversation. So in the meantime, I take online classes.