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Writing Articles : The Value of a Writing Buddy

The Value of a Writing Buddy

By B. Rutherford Benjamin

Live in a small town? Need to find a sounding board for your writing? Need to find a group that suits you? A Writing Buddy might just be the person for you!

My writing Buddy and I meet fortnightly, write together, write separately, critique each other's work, use a critique sheet, set topics for next sessions, read aloud to each other, challenge each other to try new genres, and particularly enjoy our meetings.

We began by saying to each other that we would like to belong to a writing group. "Good idea," we agreed. After some weeks we checked with each other and hadn't found a group, or even candidates, who were keen to join us. "Well," we said, "why don't we just get started? Let's meet next Tuesday morning and just start.

"Bring a piece of work to share." And that's what we did. At least two and a half years later we're still going strong — and enjoying every minute of it.

We learn so much from each other. My buddy's life and experience is quite different to mine, he has the ability to find the elusive word I have been looking for, he reads a whole raft of authors I've never heard of — and he shares his books! He is a Science Fiction buff and has introduced me to some of the best writing in that field, while I believe it has been my encouragement that has prodded him to begin writing poetry — a first for him. He is even going to enter a poetry competition.

As for me, the stimulation is keeping my pen busy and the ideas rolling. It is really important that we keep faith with each other, that we can trust each other to be honest and keep up the work we have agreed to do. Of course, there are times when we can't meet at the regular time, but we make a new time when that happens, because we really enjoy the time together and it keeps us accountable.

From time to time we ask the question,"Do we still want to do this?" And always we both agree that our meeting is valued. We don't only share our writing, but ideas we have picked up in our reading, character names, a particularly apt expression, new words, the particular books which started us reading as children, talk about the classics and what we have come across on the Internet, how we organise our writing time, and even our procrastination — and how we deal with that.

All of this keeps us writing — and we are becoming good friends along the way. I certainly recommend a Writing Buddy. Give it a go! •

© 2005 B Rutherford Benjamin. All rights reserved.

Previously Published in "The Christian Writer" journal of Christian Writer's Guild, New Zealand.

Updated 1/6/14