NaNoWriMo: The Value of Writing Buddies

Writing can be a lonely pursuit.  A lot of people envision someone sitting in front of a computer or scribbling on a notepad, all alone.  For many writers, this couldn’t be further from the truth!  A lot of successful writers collaborate or have writing buddies who give them feedback.  Even J.R.R. Tolkien had The Inklings.  Think you’d rather go it alone?  Here are a few reason that you should find some writing buddies of your own.

Writing Buddies Make the World Go ‘Round

There are so many reasons why writing buddies are a good idea.  NaNoWriMo has even made it an official capacity.  This feature allows you to connect to existing and new friends.  It also lets you track their progress (and vice versa).  They can be a great source of encouragement as the going gets tough!

Writing Buddies = Accountability

It’s a great idea to add a writing buddy for this reason alone.  It’s along the same lines of hiring a personal trainer instead of just getting a gym membership.  If you just get a membership, you’re going to end up going only when you ‘feel’ like it.  And when do you really feel like going to the gym?  When you have a personal trainer, though, you have accountability.  There’s someone waiting for you to show up and work.

With writing buddies, you have someone in your corner.  If you reach out to them, they’ll probably reach back.  They become your cheering section.  They’re who you can turn to when you just want to give up.  They’re the people who will poke you when your word count isn’t up to par.  And you can be the same thing for them.  It’s mutually beneficial, so everyone wins!

Without a writing buddy, it’s also easy to slip into the Tomorrow Mindset.
“I’ll make up for not writing today… Tomorrow.”
“I only have enough brain power to write 500 words instead of 1667, so I’ll write the rest… Tomorrow.”
I’ve got news for you: Tomorrow never comes.  Tomorrow is an excuse.  And if you’re writing by yourself, it’s easy to let Tomorrow slip through.  And then another Tomorrow.  And another one.  Then, before you know it, it’s December.  Get a good writing buddy who will keep you accountable, and don’t let another Tomorrow pass you by.  You’ll thank yourself Tomorrow!

Writing Buddies = Inspiration

At some point, you’re going to run into a creative block.  You’re going to feel like you don’t know where the story goes next, even if you know your end goal.  When you’re in the fight alone, there’s no one at your back.  When you’re fighting along with your writing buddies, though?  They’re your wingmen.  They’ll back you up.  If your character is giving you grief, they’ll help you figure out how to give it right back.

In other words, if you’re stuck, turn to your writing buddies.  Sometimes even just explaining your problem can give you a breakthrough.  Have you asked someone a question, then figured out the answer halfway through? Same concept.  Even if that doesn’t happen, they might ask the right question to get you writing again.

It’s especially helpful when you have writing buddies in a variety of genres or styles.  Sometimes, if you’re writing in, say a fantasy genre, someone in a western genre might have an approach that you didn’t think of.  If you don’t have a lot of writing buddies, or if they’re out of ideas too, the forums are a great place to go.  You can get questions answered and maybe even find some new writing buddies to add!

Writing Buddies = Competition and Motivation

If you’re at all competitive, this can be invaluable.  Even if you’re incredibly shy and you never talk to your NaNoWriMo writing buddies, you can see their word count.  If you have 0 words and one of your writing buddies already has over 4,000, that’s a great push to get writing!

If you’re not competitive, that word count can still be a stimulant.  It gives you a goal and an example of what you can achieve.  This motivation can push you towards more than you think you can accomplish.  1,667 words per day is great, but if you know you have something coming up on the weekend, you might need a little extra push.  Having an overachieving writing buddy is a great reminder that you can do it!

 

So what are you waiting for?  Go get yourself some writing buddies and see how your productivity increases!

Do you have writing buddies?  How have they helped your writing and productivity improve?

Jenn
Co-Founder and Strategic Manager at The Spare Room Project
Having grown up near Seattle, Jenn is Washingtonian to the core, and believes that trees that lose their leaves are unnatural and snow is evil. Right now, though, she calls the-middle-of-nowhere Ohio home, having stayed after college. With a vastly varied background in creativity – from hosting a radio show to jewelry design to filmmaking – becoming the Strategic Manager and Wearer-of-Many-Hats for TSRP was meant to be!

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