Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturday Soirée - Getting back on track with a writing buddy

My discipline has been flagging lately because the joys of life (my grand-daughter)have been getting in the way of scheduled writing. I am writing everyday but not as much as I want to or should. I guess you could say that I am off track or fallen of my writing wagon.

So what did I do to ensure I get back on track?

I made myself accountable to a friend who is also a writer and fighting her own writing battles.

She works fulltime and doesn't live nearby. So we have promised to keep tabs on each other. We will talk on the phone on Sunday nights sharing an brief outline of our week's agenda, three tasks we want to complete each day and two others we will tackle if time allows.

Wednesday nights will be our check-in time by email, sharing what we've done (outlines, first drafts, final edits, etc. and eliciting feedback from each other.

This is new to me - having a writing buddy. While I have many writing friends, I've never had a writing buddy.

Have you? How did it feel to be accountable to someone for your daily writing productivity and to have that responsibility to him or her?

I am looking forward to it actually - a like-minded writer to encourage me to get back on track with my writing, to stimulate my idea muscle, to give feedback on projects I am working on and to inspire me to focus on writing rather than my distractions.

This coming week, I'll be pulling up my socks and planting my butt in my chair every day at scheduled times to get back on track with my writing and I won't have to do it all alone.

Have you ever used a writing buddy to help you be more productive with your writing? What was the experience like for you?

13 comments:

Joanne said...

What a great idea, though I can certainly understand your reason for flagging ... I'm sure your grand-daughter is a wonderful distraction!

Accountability seems like a good motivator, when you must answer for your own self, and I think it'll also give positive feedback, something that, given the solitary nature of writing, isn't always easy to get.

I've never had a writing buddy, but my daughters are pretty serious about keeping me on track. Though they're not fellow-writers, if I feel discouraged or distracted, they don't tolerate much whining and step right in to set me back on track.

Cheryl Wright said...

Joanne: How wonderful to have your daughters look out for you and bouy you up at those times.

No matter how distracted I am or how involved in some other activity I enjoy, my husband and son always believe that I am in the throes of some idea and most likely writing in my head.

You see, I'm famous around here for slipping effortlessly from conversation to writing in my mind. Therefore, no matter how distracted or blocked I may be, I can't seem to live down that reputaion.

I guess that is a blessing too - their believing that I am always in writer-mode regardless of what is happening around me.

It is a source of inspiration to me sometimes but, if they only knew.

Magnolia said...

Nope. Never had a writing buddy. I've never had a buddy for much of anything truthfully.

There were days in my life where I was much more disciplined and kept myself accountable. But, I can certainly see the benefit in having someone else help you stay on track.

But then, if I had a grandbaby, I don't think I would be interested in much of anything else. :)

Cheryl Wright said...

Magnolia,

It was a giant leap out of my comfort zone, to trade a portion of my lonerhood for the benefits of having a writing buddy. I am sure some days, I will resent having to be accountable to her but there is no turning now. I forgot to mention that it is a six-month plan which we can walk away from if we choose.

As for that grandbaby thing, your time will come soon enough and from the devotion you show to your children, I can see you're going be a wonderful grandmother. You may hardly get to your computer to write a word, but you'll be a wonderful grandmother.

Terri Tiffany said...

Yes, I've had a writing buddy for awhile but then we got caught up in life etc and couldn't keep up! So my writing buddies are my blogger friends now who spur me on!

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Terri,

Yeah life is like that. Our writing/blogging friends are the best aren't they? I guess we are at a point now, where we don't know what we'll do without them. I certainly don't.

Jan said...

Cheryl,
I think your idea of a writing buddy is wonderful! Though I never had one, I know of other women writers who have and it makes all the difference in the world to share accountability with someone.

I'm pretty disciplined when it comes to my writing. I spend the morning at my desk, yes, even on "vacation" it seems, either writing letters to people (I love old-fashioned letter writing--want to be a pen pal?), blogging, or reading lovely books and writing notes in a journal...

I had to get disciplined about writing when I became a single mom and needed to support myself and my youngest daughter. I had to learn to crack my own whip to get the bills paid! I also had to be very disciplined to get my book written, because when you are under contract with a publisher they don't look too kindly on extension after extension. (smile)

I guess I have done this routine long enough now that it is actual blissful and feels like the real "me" to put in writing hours. A morning away from my desk feels strange, like I have temporarily put on someone else's skin.

I am sure that your writing routine will fall into place. After all, it does take 21 days in a row to launch a new habit... And patience with self is a virtue, you know....Hugs!

Jan said...

Oh, yes, thank you for the presentation you send me but I couldn't get it to run! ARGH!
J

Cheryl Wright said...

Jan this is the second one I sent you and it did not run. There is a problem somewhere. However the Internet is as vast as it is small. I feel sure you'll come upon it in time.

Cheryl Wright said...

Jan,
Since my granddaughter was born, my daughter is here with her everyday and my writing discipline just waltzes right out the door when they walk in.

Although my writing buddy, Wendy will motivate me to re-introduce some writing structure into my busy days, we have already discussed not making it so rigid right now. We will wait until Michelle returns to work on June 1st to get a true picture of my daily schedule babysitting Sian.

I know that out-of-sorts feeling when I don't give the usual attention to my writing. That is why I am feeling a bit lost these days. I still journal on the porch but not as regularly. One positive thing is that I am learning to write and work on projects at night.

This consumate morning person is becoming a night owl. Never thought I'd see the day, but here it is and surprisingly, I'm not too bad at it either.

Jan said...

Cheryl,
What strikes me the most about your last response is how very important it is for you right now to honor what is right in front of you. And that seems to be this precious opportunity to be with your grandchild. Finding the balance between "being" and "doing" is such a challenging path to navigate. I think you are very wise to be flexible with your plan and to go with the flow of life as it presents itself.

And good for you for being able to write at night! No such luck for me. I am a major veg head by the time 5:00 rolls around. I also find that if I work on my computer late into the evening, then I cannot sleep. Truly, we each have to find our own rhythm and honor what works for us. :-)

Cheryl Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Wright said...

Jan,

This just what I referred to in my comment on your last blog pospoke about when I commented on your last blog post, A Heart Full of Gratitude. Read it and see.

In the midst of feeling guilty for not being disciplined in recent weeks, I was feeling the pull of my heart to embrace and savor this time. It's been a deep bonding experience.

Thank you Jan, for understanding and encouraging me to go with flow of my present days.

 
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