This is a guest post by Jewel Eliese. She wears lots of hats. Blogger. Mom. Wife. How does she juggle it all? You can find out at her blog, Write Away, Mommy. It’s filled with stories, lessons, and inspiration for all moms who blog.
If you’ve ever thought that great writers live in isolation, Jewel challenges you to think again. Here she shares 3 powerful ways other writers can help you master your craft!
Imagine a writer.
Maybe you see him at a home office with birds chirping in the background.
Or at night half-drunk, pounding at a keyboard.
Or a woman with a lovely white computer and steaming cup of coffee. Stock photo perfect.
But always alone.
For me it looks more like a toddler in my lap slapping at the screen while my son tells me a truly fascinating detail of his day. Again.
But you know what? It’s OK. Because, though writing can be a lonely job, we shouldn’t always work alone.
And here’s why.
Other Writers Make You Better
It had to be fifty words. No more, no less. I put careful thought into each word, managing to make a complete story out of a paragraph.
And there my new friend, Kaylee, sat, pen in hand, ready to mark it up.
My heart jumped with adrenaline.
Would she like it?
Did I suck?
She crossed something out. Wrote a word. Added a period or two.
I read it, afraid.
But her changes, though tiny, made all the difference. The words now had the punch I was looking for. Excitement welled up in my soul. The story was as it was meant to be. It was a polished stone that finally shined.
And it was because I didn’t do it alone.
Writing with her made me better.
And we still work together and become better every day.
Other Writers Encourage You
Working with someone gives you more than just the chance to have them edit your work. They can encourage you with your writing and life.
Many aspiring authors are tempted to write a book in cooperation. The two are more fun and faster: one writes one chapter, the other writes another. And, if one shirks, the other will return them to the right path.
However, there will be sense only if the following conditions are met:
- Both co-authors are in equal weight categories.
If one is the undisputed leader, and the other is on the sidelines, then this is what happens: author #2 will write, and author #1 will swear and redo everything. Soon the first author will curse the day when they got involved in this adventure because they are writing the book, and the fee will have to be divided by two.
- Both co-authors have eyes shining
If one passionately dreams of writing and publishing a book, and the second is much more interested in computer games, then the matter will end in a quarrel. Author # 1 will be offended that author # 2 is not doing anything, and in the end, they will quarrel.
- Co-authors have the same idea of good literature
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Like Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, we have two radio stations playing in our head, one telling us how fantastic we are, and the other how much we suck.
We need another person around to help us turn the volume up or down on each station accordingly. Your writing friend can be your coach or cheerleader through moments when you just can’t write a word, or when you have that first word published.
But part of encouragement is accountability. You hold each other to the promise that you will write. The feeling that someone is waiting for you helps you stay true to your deadlines.
And you end up getting more work done.
Other Writers Inspire You
There are times when you cannot write. The words just won’t flow well.
Heck, I’ve had that problem now!
Sometimes what you need is more than just encouragement, but inspiration.
And the muse lives in people.
Something as simple as chatting about nothing, or discussing each other’s work can inspire titles, or story ideas.
It does happen.
The other night I texted with a writing friend and came up with a couple ideas. Some ideas as a joke and some serious ones that I love.
Like this article.
You can also find inspiration from non-writing people around you. Like the funny way your kid says “pwease” could be used in an article, or story.
My ‘real life’ job involves a lot of customers. I love people.
But sometimes it’s exhausting.
To keep my writer brain happy, I like to take notes in my head or on paper about the way someone moves, the way they talk with their hand by the mouth, or if they have a scar or memorable mole.
And then I can use the notes for writing. These details are fantastic as tags to help create interesting characters in fiction. It is my social writing. And you can use it too.
Not Alone Anymore
You’re ready to edit, be encouraged and inspired and simply be a better writer by working with a fellow writer.
But what if you don’t have any writing friends? How do you build your tribe?
While maybe not fun, you’ll need to do a little searching. However, it’s work that’s worth it.
And here are a few ways to start.
Writing classes not only give you the opportunity to improve your craft, but you are surrounded by like-minded artists. You write together in a group setting, a huge step from being alone.
And you can form bonds outside of class, sometimes lifelong.
You can also join an online class or course like Tribe Writers. I have found incredible people this way, like the owner of this blog.
Write in Public:
Take your work to a public place. Get your coffee and sit down with your pen and paper or laptop and be the cliché writer. Let people see you. You may meet a friend.
I went to a book store and bought a writing prompt book that I fell in love with (I may have hugged it). A woman saw me with it and asked the question.
“Are you a writer?”
And from there we chatted and exchanged emails. I had made a new writing friend.
Tell People You’re a Writer
I was so nervous and felt dumb, but I had to say it.
“I like to write.” I told Kaylee a little while after we met. She laughed.
That’s something I have realized since admitting to people my love for writing.
It seems like everyone is a writer.
But you’ll never know unless you ask, or tell.
You don’t have to only write alone. There are ways to meet other writers.
So, take a chance.
Meet a few friendly writers.
Be encouraged. Inspired.
And become better.
Just don’t do it alone.
Jewel Eliese is a mother to two awesome munchkins, wife to a serious comedian, and a fiction writer. You can find her at www.writeawaymommy.com.
Want to join a fantastic community of other writers? We’d love to have you in the Tribe Builder’s Network! You’ll find everything Jewel talks about here – and you’ll see her there, too!