Writing can be like folding a banquet-sized tablecloth; you can do it yourself, but it’s a lot easier when you can find somebody to help. —Ted Kooser and Steve Cox, Writing Brave and Free, p. 118.
I’m an inveterate introvert. I prefer staying home alone—even when I don’t have to trudge through snow to get somewhere. But when I analyzed my most-productive writing times for my recent Write Now! Mastermind class (Want to Write Your Book This Year? Three Shifts You Must Make to Succeed), I discovered something surprising. I write more when I am connecting intentionally with other writers. Go figure. Here are five ways you can boost your productivity by connecting with other writers:
1. Make a deadline pact. Chris Baty started National Novel Writing Month to give writers a deadline, the one element he believed writers needed to succeed. Create a deadline pact with another writer. Promise that by a certain date you will each write 50,000 words, finish a project, or complete a portion of a manuscript. To make it more fun and easier to succeed, make a bet. Perhaps the loser can treat the winner to dinner or a glass of wine!
2. Create a critique partnership. Professional writers study great writing to learn how to best tell a story. When we invite other writers to read and critique our writing, we expand our understanding of good writing. We also learn where our blind spots are. From complex comments on structure and voice to technical lessons on commas and run-on sentences, a good critique will strengthen our writing. Find a colleague who is at about the same writing level as you are, exchange manuscripts, and give each other feedback.
3. Challenge a colleague! Over the Christmas holiday break, I met with a writer friend at a local coffee shop. We commiserated about how tough it was to write while all that fun social media kept popping up on our screens. So we made a deal: for one month we’d abstain from social media and online surfing until noon each day. (We’ll be writing about our experience in a joint blog post very soon.) For me, this challenge helped me stay offline and write (what if she saw me on Facebook?). The online world boasts a ton of writing challenges like National Novel Writing Month including writing a story a day and the 30 day creative writing challenge. Try one of these with a friend (or make up your own).
4. Sprint! When I exercise, I like to do sprints: run or bike really fast for a short period of time every 3-5 minutes. It makes my exercise session move faster. I first heard about writing sprints at a National Novel Writing Month Write-in. In a writing sprint, the writer races against the clock (and often another writer) to amass as many words as possible in a short amount of time. Find a friend online or meet in person and compete to see who can write the most words in ten to twenty minutes.
5. Practice Accountability. For years, I’ve met with small networking groups and individuals for accountability in both my business and writing. These connections helped me to leap forward when all I really wanted to do was crawl. During these meetings, we would ask each other the same questions: what are you writing, what is working, what do you need help with. We’d also share our favorite writing books, writing resources, and new novels. Because of these regular meetings, I wrote more.
Your turn: How has connecting with others helped you to write more? Share your ideas below!
Try it! If you’d like to try group accountability—test out one of the new group coaching classes being offered this coming Tuesday at 5:00 and 6:00 PM CST. Visit the Group Coaching page to learn more.
ips by subscribing on the home page of the Write Now! Coach Web site.