Find a Writing Support Buddy and Expand Your Writing

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Writing can be solitary. Add a friend to expand your writing skills.
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Do you have a writing support buddy? If not, you might want to consider it as another way to expand your writing.

No matter what stage of my writing, I’ve always gravitated toward at least one person at a time who helps me. Generally, it’s not a person I rely on as a reader. In my writing career, I like to have someone to bounce ideas off of.

Fortunately, these friendships have grown from reaching out to another person who may be at the same stage on a project as you are. That’s how I started talking about writing with one of my oldest friends.

One of my constant writing friends is someone I worked with 20-some years ago. We live thousands of miles away and exchange infrequent emails and calls. But it works well for us. He’ll come up with an idea and will flesh it out for me. I ask him questions and he tries to answer them about the project. I’ve even gone so far to read up on subjects to help troubleshoot some of the details and help keep it realistic.

Another friend and I exchange monthly phone calls to help keep each other on track for business goals. Different than regularly scheduled dips into each other’s lives, with this relationship we touch base on ideas for growing our writing businesses.

There are other ways you can have a writing friend help you focus and expand your writing:

1. Discuss plot details or narrative difficulties in each other’s work.
2. Brainstorm on writing projects or writing prompts to help give each other’s writing a boost.
3. Exchange ideas on writing conferences, retreats, or continuing education.
4. Trade writing books (or surprise them with a gift of one of your favorites).
5. Be available for relaxed conversations outside of the realm of business—that’s where a lot of the growth can happen, as well.

What area of your writing would you discuss with your writing buddy? What are the characteristics of your ideal writing buddy?

Elizabeth King Humphrey lives in Wilmington, N.C., and is excited that beach weather is here. Time to break out the beach reads!


Anonymous said...


I have a writing friend who has helped me in several ways. When she lived in St. Louis, she and I took turns giving each other a monthly "prompt" (which amounted to a word or phrase that had to be used/featured in a story or poem). She also was a marvelous editor and helped me with revising.

Now I belong to a writing critique group, and have FOUR writing friends. If I have no idea where to take a story, if I'm lacking a title, if I need an idea about what to write when a call for submissions comes out, they're there to help me out...along with revising and editing...

Nichole L. Reber said...

This is an excellent post, though it takes many writers so long to discover that. I'm no exception. Finally last fall I started reaching out to writers whose work moved me.

One writer and I have developed a relationship that ended up like your regularly scheduled writing associate. Ben Jolivet and I both write nonfiction, though usually of different subgenres. We check in on each other, edit/critique, share publishing advice/info, and cheer each other on.

Another one is a blogger with wicked blogging skills. We actually connected when I was visiting Phoenix.

Others I've met through web sites have also exchanged insightful writing, critiquing, submission, and publishing advice.

We all need a community of writers, especially one that far expands your basic writers group. We're like personal, mutual shrinks. Or at least that's how John Irving made it sound in a recent intervie won BBC:

Cheers y saludos,

Elizabeth King Humphrey said...

These are great suggestions! Thanks for sharing.

LuAnn Schindler said...

Great advice! I have a non-writer friend I bounce non-fiction ideas off of and I get honest feedback and a lot of questions to consider. It works. Biggest problem is scheduling a time to talk. Wish it could be more because the advice I get is invaluable. You've prompted me to search out another writing buddy for my fiction.

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