Who do you talk to about your writing? I mean the deep, inner-turmoil over a tiny character trait kinda talk or the elated reaction to your main character supplying you with a brilliant conflict as you write (like it wasn’t really from you but from the character herself) type of conversation?
Today’s Truth is that writers need a Writing Best Friend. A writer needs a best friend who is a writer as well. This best friend comes with all the regular best friend fixins:
honesty (sometimes brutal mostly compassionate)
loyalty (but not without honesty)
ability to keep secrets
ability to listen
sense of humor
And the list can go on and on…you get what I’m saying, I’m sure. Just think of your best friend right now. I’m sure you can list off all the wonderful things about her. I bet there are some biggies that I’ve left off my list, although, trust me, they’re there!
A Writing Best Friend has all these traits, and he has the uncanny ability to translate them into your writing life. I need someone who writes as my best friend so I can explain how I’m feeling about what I’m writing and be understood. I’m not saying that my best friends who don’t write aren’t supportive of my writing. They are, but the ‘truth’ is writers can speak their own language. Just like doctors or chefs or dancers (insert any other profession) can speak their own language. It’s important to my writing life that I share my feelings and frustrations (and joys and successes) with my Writing Best Friend. He understands. Fully and completely.
I think in an effort to find this person or group, we join things like local writing groups or subscribe to on-line blogs that relate to writing. I subscribe to about ten blogs about writing. I have been a part of a writing group or leading a writing group or teaching writing classes for years. Being a part of a group that shares your passion fuels whatever your passion is! I know. I know. You know all this.
It’s a new year. Have you had your annual writing goal meeting with your Writing Best Friend yet? My what, you ask? Your annual writing goal meeting – the get together you have where you both share your list of writing goals for the year. Yes. Treat it like a meeting. Like it’s a scheduled appointment – with lists and food and focus. A Writing Best Friend will support you on this one.
I had mine this past Sunday. We set an agenda ahead of time. We set a large block of time together to have our meeting (at least four hours). We had snacks and coffee. After a few minutes of one last attempt at procrastination (indeed – making goals means giving yourself accountability – who wants to rush into that?!), we settled in at the diningroom table and got to work.
We talked about writing – what we want to write, why we want to write it, where and how we see ourselves writing – for hours. Do you know how AMAZING that feels? We talked about our greatest fears which essentially fit directly into our greatest dreams. While one of us talked the other one took notes (my notes weren’t as good as his!). We wrote stuff down. As writer, you know what that means – when you write something down it suddenly becomes real!
By the end of it, we were elated, exhausted, scared and relieved. And most importantly, happy on a deep level that we had been neglecting. The ‘artist’ level that never sleeps and alwasy creates but that we figure out how to suppress in our daily lives. It happens. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Just remember to not cement this creative self in. A good covering with something soft and penetrable is okay. Breathable too. Because you’ll find that there are PLENTY of opportunities to uncover and UNLEASH the artist in you.
Your Writing Best Friend will surely yank the cover off your writing self if you’re not going to do it yourself. And vice versa.
Who is your Writing Best Friend? Go hug him/him. Book your new year meeting. Re-ignite or throw some lighter fluid on that writing fire within each other.