Friday, April 16, 2010

Flying Solo ... or Not?

Hey there! Liz Johnson here again. Today I thought I'd share a bit about how I like to write--alone.

Writing is, by nature, a solitary act, and I've heard many an author lementing this fact. It can be hard to close yourself off from friends and family to put ideas to paper. It might be easier to write in the company of others, but I've never thought so.

Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, but one of my favorite parts of being a writer is being alone with my laptop. And a few impatient, over-zealous characters. I love losing myself into the story in a way that never really happens when I try to write with others around. So I always believed that writing alone was the way to go.

But when I started really working on my first book, I discovered a terrible trait. I'm not disciplined at all. Apparently without having someone regularly check in on my progress, I was pretty much useless. So I buddied up with another writer friend, and for the last three years we've gotten together nearly every Monday night to write together for an hour. (Then we watch Castle! But that's another story.) My mom thought I was crazy, thought we would only ever chat for the whole hour. We did that once or twice at the beginning, but now we've gotten into an easy routine that includes much more writing than it does talking.

Don't get me wrong, we certainly talk. But it's about our books and our stories and our characters and those elusive words we want to use, but just can't seem to find. And a surprising thing has happened--I think my books are getting better.

I'm sure that part of it is just growing and maturing as a writer. But I'm just as sure that a chunk of that is owed to having another writer to bounce ideas off of, to ask on opinion of, and even to be teased by when I write something truly terrible.

As a solitary writer, who liked it that way, coming to this realization wasn't easy. Writing by myself and for myself was good enough. But that's just it. I don't want to be just good enough. I want to get better.

And I am, thanks to my Monday Night Writing Buddy.

So, who's your writing partner? Or do prefer to fly solo? What works best for you?


Leann said...

Liz, I pretty much fly solo, but I love to keep try to lunch with other writer friends. It keeps me sane.

Liz Ann said...

Good for you, Leann. Writer friends are so important to our sanity. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't really have much choice in the matter. If I'm going to write, it pretty much has to be solo, as I can't really find anyone to help keep me on track. However, I do have friends (who aren't writers, but readers) who like to read my stories, so something I've started doing is promising to have a certain amount of story written for them by a certain time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, lol, but at least I'm writing a little bit more now than I did before!