Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buddying Up

Buddy Up for Safety.

It’s one of the first lessons we learn in kindergarten, or earlier; that life is safer with a buddy, there is protection in numbers.

Except, when you’re an introvert, numbers don’t feel safe, especially numbers of people. But we’re here to tell you—to encourage you—to seriously consider having a writing buddy with whom to share your writing journey. There are oh-so-many reasons, reasons above and beyond the benefits to be found in partnering up for marketing purposes.

See, as introverts, we tend to go inward and shun crowds or large groups. Many of us are not comfortable joining groups or organizations and the idea of sharing in front of a group of people is enough to make us stay home and lock the door.

But here’s the thing; even introverts—especially introverts—will need support on this writing journey. Someone to share in the ups and downs, to act as a sounding board, to bounce ideas off of, to give you a gentle nudge out of your comfort zone when it’s required.

What to Look for In a Writing Buddy:
~A fellow writer – this is essential so they will understand at a gut level just what your ups and downs will entail.
~Someone who will celebrate your success with as much enthusiasm and joy as if it were their own
~Someone who will gnash their teeth and rail at the publishing gods at your stumbling blocks and failures as if they were their own
~Someone who gets your writing, who understands your voice and themes and chosen subject matter and can help you make your work the best it can be, as opposed to a watered down version of their style.
~Someone with a generous spirit and open heart who wants you to succeed as much—if not more—than you do.
~Someone who will play midwife to your books when needed.
~Someone who will thwack you gently on the head and say, “get over it,” when needed.
~A fellow introvert or, at the very least, an extrovert who “gets’ and understands introverts needs

My personal opinion is that introverts need a writing buddy more than extroverts do. Extroverts have lots of people they enjoy being around, and just the act of being around them fills them up. But as introverts, we tend to go inward, especially when struggling, and those are the times it can be most beneficial to have a little outside support and guidance. But we all know a group is absolutely out, which is why it is so important to have that one person that quiet little soul mate with which to share our trials and tribulations—hopefully mostly tribulations.

My writing buddy and I have been together for over twelve years now, supported each other through the birth (and death) of countless books, published and unpublished. My writing journey would have been sterile indeed, without this person at my side.

In fact, in celebration of writing buddies, the first person to guess my writing buddy will win a copy of Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris! Here’s a hint: They’ve published three books, all of them middle grade fiction, they are an introvert, with a wicked funny sense of humor. This person also has a strong sense of fashion and the most meticulously groomed eyebrows on the planet.


tanita✿davis said...

HAH! I can't guess with the eyebrow thing (unless it's Mary? I've seen her shoes, not her eyebrows), but I second your thoughts on the writing buddy. Having a writing group that never meets in person has been really great for me. During my MFA, we had to attend twice a week critiques in person -- which wasn't much fun -- but this has worked tremendously better than I could have ever expected, and has allowed me to keep in touch with people far away from me as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Mary, too.

I have several writing buddies--we all support, encourage, and--when needed--respectfully, sweetly tear each other's writing to pieces and help put it back together! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that this would be hard for me because I don't let anyone read my material until I'm completely done. It's a susperstition of mine. No one reads my work in progress because it leads to long bouts of writer's block.

Any idea on how I can overcome that? Because I would really like to have a CP.

R.L. LaFevers said...

Well, is that an official guess, Tadmack?

And Celise, actually my writing buddy and I don't necessarily read each others manuscripts-in-progress. We might bounce an idea off one another, or talk about a plot corner we've written ourselves into, but we don't read each others drafts. Especially first drafts since we both subscribe to Stephen King's philosophy of write the first draft with the door firmly shut, then write the second draft with the door open, meaning allowing some input. Which is a long way of saying I don't think having a writing buddy would mean you have to break that rule of yours.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Id like to dedicate your post to my WFF (Writing friend forever) Jessica Dehart ( We are definately enjoying this journey together :) Thanks for your post today!

tanita✿davis said...

Robin, that was a surmise, not a guess, so I think Becky wins.

Congratulations on the book release, though. I'm going to run screeching off the plane the minute I get to the U.S. and get my copy. The Boy, who really loves Sherlock Holmes, etc., actually LOVES Theodosia, which is high praise indeed!

Dharma Kelleher said...

Just found your blog and I like it. I need it.

I had a writing buddy a few years ago, but then she decided to do some things other than writing. Haven't found another since.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

No guesses on your writing buddy, but I will say my writing buddies -- two crit partners and one beta -- have helped me so much through the years, I'd be nowhere without them.