Why in the worlds would I try to go it alone?
I think writers love the thought of being loners. We envision Ernest Hemingway, pipe clenched in his teeth, a glass of the hard stuff next to his typewriter, pounding away at another brilliantly crafted tale. Just Ernest. And the booze. And a typewriter. Now, I don’t know if Hemingway had a writing partner or not, but I also know I’m no Ernest Hemingway. For that I am grateful. I’m pretty sure I have more going for me, published or not.
I’ve had critique groups in the past. Some fantastic, some not so fantastic. All good writers, many multi-published now. You’ll see a list of my favorite writers on the right side o’ my blog. I’ve had the privilege of reading some of their work before they were published. And more than a few of them have beat some writing sense into me. Over and over. Some of it even stuck.
Sometimes the chemistry wasn’t there, so we parted ways. Sometimes the chemistry was fine, but we worked at different paces, so that fell apart as well. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just difficult to match up with another writer. I’m sure any artist would agree. Most successful bands are made up of members who played in multiple bands before they found a group of guys who just made it click. It’s no different with us.
So I’m hopeful these days. I have, not a critique group, but a partner. This works well for me because I work about 50 hours a week at one full-time and one part-time job (don’t feel sorry for me, I’m a full-time engineer and I get paid very well for my part time marketing work). So I get in an hour a night for writing. Maybe a few more on the weekends.
My new partner, Gina Conroy, is a busy mom with interests outside of writing (shocking, I know). She warned me that she doesn’t hurry. I was elated. Gina has one book published. This is the most fearful time for her as a writer (at least it would be for me). She’s got the first one on the shelf. Now she’ll wonder if she can do it again. Was this just a one hit wonder? Will she forget how to complete a sentence? Just what is a dangling participle anyway?
I enjoy encouraging her, because I see a lot of talent and a long series of books wrapped up in her head.
I, on the other hand, have not been published. I took a few years off from writing and have been trying to regain my footing over the last few months. My confidence is slowly recovering. Gina is one of those people who can pump my writer ego while at the same time tell me when I’m an idiot. She’s nicer about it, but I can translate.
It’s only been a couple of weeks since we began this arrangement. We have known each other for a while via the internet and I’ve written for her blog, Writer…Interrupted. Sometimes I even post my article on time. And she doesn’t yell at me when it’s late or just missing. She probably should.
I’m being tentative, but I’m kind of excited about the prospect of a partner. It makes it feel more real. I’m not just tapping out scenes in my spare time any more, then letting them sit in a folder until I forget about them. I’ve got someone pushing me to get it done and get it right. And I’m pushing her to do the same.
So how about y’all? Do you have a partner or group? How many of your “bands” have broken up? Are you a better writer with a partner or group?