Writing can be a lonely business. Novelists inhabit a world of imaginary people, but getting out to meet real ones can be a bit of a challenge. And Covid-19 hasn’t helped, restricting the opportunities to get out there and meet living, breathing folk.
It takes bum-glue to get a book written. Hours, days, years are spent working up a book to a publishable standard. How, then, do writers get a bit of people time and, more importantly, get a bit of perspective on their latest work?
This is where having other authors as friends really counts. Writers speak their own language. They swap notes, share information, support one another. They understand the ups and downs of writing, finding an agent, a publisher, an illustrator. They swap tips, share experiences, and have an insider’s view of the publishing industry. Most of all, they can have a good laugh over a glass of wine, mug of coffee and the inevitable chocolate.
When it comes to the writing itself, another author might have a valuable skill they can offer in return for your own. As a dyslexic, I make errors of spelling and punctuation despite rabid attempts to iron them out. This is where my good friend and author, Sue Russell, steps in. She’s a Grammar Guru to whom I turn for help. In return, I discuss her writing projects and ideas for plots. Best of all, we enjoy each other’s company, support one another, and have a good chuckle along the way.
We met when I ran a writing group in North Kent. She popped along one evening to suss us out and ended up staying. We became firm friends. That was nearly a decade ago. Now I live in the South West, but distance hasn’t diminished our friendship, nor the practical help we offer each other. We send our latest manuscript by email, exchange messages on social media, and take full advantage of Zoom or Skype. Of course it’s not all work and we enjoy a similar sense of humour which we employ at the slightest provocation.
It’s simple to find a writing buddy because the world’s your oyster. There are thousends of authors like you who will enjoy your company and appreciate your experience.
There are a few hard and fast rules to follow:
Respect one another’s work –
Respect the relationship – this is not an opportunity to blow your own trumpet and big yourself up.
Be honest – not ruthless.
The relationship is a work in progress – nurture it.
Have fun – otherwise what’s the point?
Apply a degree of professionalism – be rigorous, not pedantic; thorough and even-handed.
Support one another – we all have our highs and lows.
Give your writing buddy a boost – tweet, post, and blog about their work. Big them up.