--Cicero 106BC-43 BC)
Writing is a solitary pursuit.
I've always written. I scrawled down short stories, scenes, and plots. It wasn't until a friend of mine challenged me to enter a contest that I became serious. Together we worked on our stories, bouncing off ideas, supporting each other when we felt it was an impossible task. I finished my story and so did she--we entered that contest.
Neither of us won.
I learned a few things:
- Writing is a craft and I had a LOT to learn.
- My friend was a valued resource as I wrote.
I've continued to write--and the my circle of writing friends and critique partners have grown. They bring with them their own set of skills. I find that these relationships have enriched my writing and personal life.Below I've listed some of the gifts/skills my friends bring to me. I just hope that I give the same to them:
- Cheer leaders: They encourage, harass, and push so I get my stories done
- Plotters/Brainstorm: I bounce ideas with them--it motivates me.
- Detail: They point out flaws in my story, or help me clarify what I've missed.
- Grammar: One whom I am eternally grateful for--helps me dig me out of grammar hell.
- Challenge: There are a few of us who challenge each other--one chapter a week. No matter how bad and send it. (no-one reads it...its the fact you finished it that counts)
- Beta Readers. That they want to read it, thrills me.
- Laughter: Friends who make you laugh are worth their weight in gold.
- Support: I have a friend who will always have a pot of tea (or a glass of wine) when I need it--and a good meal to celebrate.
- Venting: Yes, we all need at times to vent. It is the good friend who listens and commiserates in your misery. It is the great friend that doesn't allow you to wallow in it.
- Misc: You know, there is always a friend that is exactly what you need when you need it.
Many of these friends I have not met in person, but it doesn't lesson their value to me. I try to give to them as much as they give to me. Its amazing how one sentence of support can make your day after you've re-written that chapter five times.
Ultimately, I have to write the book or the story-by myself. I have to sit down and put it on the page, but I am not alone. At any time I can pick up the phone or send a panicked email to one of my friends and help is on the way.
So, what do you think? Is writing a solitary pursuit? Or do you have a circle of friends/critique partners that help?
Like the quote above, my friendships make everything brighter--even writing.