There are few things as rewarding or as challenging in a professional writer’s life than hanging out with other writers. No one else quite “gets it” or “gets you” the way other writers do. That said, such gatherings can be fraught with challenges because other writers are also “the competition”. How do you maintain a healthy balance?
The rules listed here help. To them I would add that the participating should also all be under a deadline or there should be a common goal, challenge or purpose to the gathering (think about that stormy weekend party when Mary Shelley wrote the first draft of Frankenstein). I would also include a visible reminder that there really are no new ideas,just new ways to use or look at existing ideas. When writers gather, they can feed each other’s creativity and productivity. But not if they are afraid to but their best thoughts, ideas and efforts out there for other writers to see. Unfortunately, this can lead to conflict if another author takes someone else’s idea and runs with it. Generally speaking, there are two ways to avoid that situation. The first is by making sure everyone has an active project to focus on and that no two projects as the same unless the authors involved are collaborating. The second is to create a project that is new to everyone. That means everyone states at the same time with the same deadline and because conversations naturally turn towards what is being written, it also gives the participants permission to exchange and use ideas. Th
The second is obviously more difficult to pull off. It is also potentially rewarding and not just for the writer who ends up penning the best story. The others will walk away with the knowledge that they contributed to a great story. The thrill they get when they see that story published is not quite the same as the thrill of seeing their own work published but it is similar. And they probably have some fantastic tales about the weekend or week or however long the project took, that they can and will make use of at another time.
Writer friends are wonderful. As long as you take proper care of them!
Last week Jamie wrote about the importance of writer friends. Let me start this blog with a resounding “yes!” to that sentiment. I can’t imagine life without my writer friends. I’ve mentioned my Sisters in Crime before, and what that camaraderie has meant to my development as a mystery writer throughout the years. But this past weekend, I took it one more step. I went on away for a writers’ retreat with five mystery writing friends. And it was a tonic.
The six of us write cozy mysteries. We’ve even started a blog together. The other five all have a three book deal in varying stages of development. We spent the weekend writing. A lot. And when we weren’t writing we were talking about writing. We also ate, drank a lot of wine, cooked, took naps (OK, that was me), laughed, and then ate some more. Two of the…
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