Writing Advice

Having a Writing Buddy

What is a writing buddy (or rather who)? How can they help you?

Writing buddy has a broad definition. A writing buddy can have varied and diverse roles, it very much depends upon the dynamic in the partnership and what each other’s wants and needs are.

It has been six months since Elizabeth first posted in the NaNoWriMo Facebook group looking for a writing buddy. At the time, she was really struggling to find the motivation to continue with her novel and needed someone who could keep her in check with her writing. It didn’t take long for responses to come in, and it didn’t take long (one month) for this blog, YA Teabreak to be established as a result of the partnership. 

A writing buddy is there to help you along with your writing. It’s a symbiotic relationship because you will be helping them in the same manner. To make it successful, it’s important to establish what you want and expect out of the partnership.

It’s really a very exciting experience and you get to make a good friend along the way who is there to support you. Here are just some of the different things a writing buddy can help you with:

  • A writing buddy is someone who understands the difficulty of the writing process. Sometimes all you need is someone to complain to. It helps if they can understand what you’re going through.
  • A writing buddy can hold you accountable to your writing. With someone else there, you feel that extra responsibility and guilt to get writing and meet your daily target. It could be just the extra push you need to get your story finished.
  • A writing buddy helps keep you motivated about your story. If you are running into difficulty with plot holes or writer’s block, having a writing buddy can help you work around it. You can bounce ideas back and forth and with a new perspective, you can find solutions that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
  • A writing buddy can critique your work and point out plot problems that you didn’t spot. Having a fresh set of eyes on your work and receiving feedback is very helpful in the writing process. A writing buddy can identify weaknesses in your story or things that don’t make sense, that you might have missed.
  • A writing buddy can be a writing partner. Both of you love to write, why not write a story together?

So how do you find a writing buddy?

It can be hard knowing where to look. You can try posting on writers’ groups online, such as on Facebook or on writer’s websites, like the Wattpad forums. Alternatively you can look for local writing meets, which will give you the opportunity to see people face to face. If you’re a participant of NaNoWriMo you might be familiar with the concept of Municipal Liaisons (MLs) – these are volunteers from a region who host events and provide encouragement to other writers in the area. If you add your ‘region’ to NaNoWriMo you will get pep talks during NaNo from you MLs. Not only do your MLs write you regular words of encouragement during that arduous month of the year but they also host write-ins, meetups and parties. This will be more busy during NaNo months but some MLs host events all year round. Most will even have a Facebook group which will allow you to post on the page – which is how our partnership was formed.

What are alternatives to writing buddies?

The best alternative to a writing buddy (besides some secret well of motivation – seriously if you have one please tell us where it is) is a writing group. They both offer very different things, an experience with a writing buddy can be a lot more intense and more thorough but with a writing group it can be comforting to know their are others by your side. The ways to meet a writing group are very similar but Nadia met her writing group through Camp NaNo. Camp NaNo put you in a ‘writing cabin’ but you can also use the forums to handpick people for a cabin yourself. 6 months later and Nadia still talks to her writing group.

If you find yourself lacking in motivation or facing plot problems you’re having difficulty working through, then a writing buddy might be the solution to all your problems.

– Elizabeth & Nadia

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