Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Buddy System

As many of you might notice in the coming month, I won't be reading much. I have a hard time reading when I'm writing, because the ideas from the books I read try to meld themselves with my current story creation. Bad idea. So I generally refrain from reading much during that first draft. Now, this is not to be mistaken for editing. During the editing process (anything after that first draft), I can read at will because the basic storyline is already recorded. Don't ask me how this works; it just does.

Instigator and I have challenged each other to get a first draft done in 6 weeks. And now that I've told the world, here's hoping I don't fail! I chose to do this because I hate writing first drafts, and if I don't get them written quickly then I tend to put it off for as long as possible. Once I get to the editing stage, you have to pry me away with a crowbar. Love it! (Smarty Pants, I can hear those gagging noises you're making!)

I had planned to do this regardless, but in discussing it with Instigator, she suggested we team up and hold each other accountable. I was thrilled! One, because we've had great success with those things we do together. Encouraging each other. Entering contests. Having our babies at the same time. And myriad other things that have nothing to do with writing. Two, because I can trust her and I know she won't wimp out after 3 days (will you?). She'll be sure to give me a swift kick in the rear if I quit posting or lag behind.

Problem Child and Smarty Pants plan to join us after their respective summer trips. How in the world did we all manage to be starting new books at the same time? Weird, I know.

Anyway... now that I can count on these friends to join me, I have a whole bunch more confidence that I'll actually stick to the task and not give up. Well, I know I would have reached the finish line, but no where near as soon as I will with these ladies keeping me accountable.

Whether you are trying to finish a book, diet, establish an exercise routine, quit smoking, or accomplish some other worthy goal, consider getting a buddy involved. I can hear you complaining now--I've tried that before. They always wimp out within 2 days. Then maybe you aren't picking the right kind of buddy.

1. Choose someone who understands the worth of the goal. The Playfriends know what it means to me to finish good books and sell them. They have the same dream.

2. Choose someone who has a track record of going the distance. There is a reason that groups like Alcoholics Anonymous couple those still fighting the battle with those who've long passed the finish line. I don't know if someone who has never finished a book could encourage me to finish mine. At least not with the same intensity as someone who knows the joys and release waiting for me on the other side. Or choose someone who has shown they are willing to fight a good fight. Put in an effort, rather than let every obstacle sway them from their goal.

3. Choose someone who won't offer you excuses to cheat. Ever tried going on a diet with someone, only to have them offer you this or that reason for having a cookie or banana split? Do you tell your diet partner that you cheated on your diet because you were stressed and you know their response will be "It's okay. You had a bad day." Let me tell you, there are some instances where Instigator will comfort me and listen. This is not one of them. She'd more likely tell me she better receive some pages written instead of an excuse tomorrow! In a nice way, but she'd still say it. :)

So grab that buddy by the hand and start the work that will lead to your dream. I climbed my first step today, with 10 handwritten pages. It felt really good. What do you look for in a buddy?



Linda Winstead Jones said...

Must be something in the air. I'm starting a new book today, too.
:-) It's always good to have someone to watch your back and make sure everything is going along as it should.


Problem Child said...

I'll be expecting to see masses of ms pages when I get back from you two!

Instigator said...

I want you to know I did not wimp out last night (although the temptation was there). I actually got 3.8 pages done (on my alphasmart that's somewhere between 6 and 7 ms pages). My goal every day is 3.5 so I'm pretty proud of myself. Especially considering that by the time I finished those pages my eyes were crossed with exhaustion - it's been a long weekend (although a very good one!).

And you're right Angel, I'm looking for any excuse to pull out my bullwhip. It's a bit dusty and feeling neglected ;-)

I know you can do this!

Instigator - who looks to the playfriends for perfect examples of buddy qualities - strong, dependable, honest, kind, understanding, and hilarious.

Playground Monitor said...

My goal has been to write 2 short stories per month for submission to a magazine. I have several ideas in mind. I really just need to sit on the back porch, pen in hand, and see which one starts to percolate. Of course with my luck, I'd start noticing the weeds in the flower beds and feel the need to pull them. I must be strong!

Rhonda said...

Good luck, girls!

As for what I look for in a writing buddy...someone who shares the same neuroses. Check out and look at her most recent blog post, lol. It hits the nail on the head. :-)