I’ve never been a very patient person. When people give me gift cards, I look for the first chance to spend them (unlike my husband, who collects gift cards until he has enough to buy a small country). On July 4th, I dump the whole box of Pop-its into my hand, shake off the saw dust, and throw them all at the same time. I very much enjoy instant gratification.
That’s why the whole finding-a-writing-buddy thing has been a giant pain in the tuchus.
When I started writing fiction, I read about the benefits of critique groups/partners, beta readers, writing buddies – whatever you call it, the basic definition is the same: a person (or group of people) who read your rough draft and give you constructive feedback. They’re people you trust. People who can be honest but supportive. People who care as much about your success as you do. The concept appealed to me, but how do you find a writing partner?
I joined a writing organization that assigned people to critique groups. Members joined, then left, but I never found the right match. Then I joined an email loop, but there were too many people and it was so much work that I didn’t have the time to invest in everyone. I tried a smaller group and was matched with a great partner, but then she started working three editing jobs and wasn’t available. Finally I answered the email of a writer looking to establish a writing group. I thought I had my niche, but it didn’t take long to realize my schedule doesn’t allow for a group of people. I had to step aside for scheduling reasons.
That left me writing alone … again, but I decided to just keep writing and let things happen. After nearly seven years of joining and leaving and seeking and finding and losing writing partners, I attended a local writer’s meeting for the first time. People came from all across the northern part of the state, but I happened to sit next to a gal who also writes contemporary inspirational fiction – and lives only 30 minutes away from me!
It took seven years to find each other, but in the past six months she’s challenged, encouraged, and motivated me in ways I’d always dreamed a writing partner would – and we get to meet in person, not just online.
It took more than half a decade, but we finally found each other. Sure, I would have preferred to meet her six years ago, but I learned a lot along the way. One of the things I learned was to keep looking. Not easy for a patience-less girl like me, but it was definitely worth the wait!