We meet at Hemingway’s on the Chesapeake Bay once every three months–our meetings bright spots on our calendars, written in pen, planned around, looked forward to, and always satisfying. We stay past our welcome, and always leave completed. I’m not talking about a secret rendezvous, I’m talking about my writing partner.
As many writers will tell you, writing can be isolating. We need the camaraderie of other people engaging in the same bizarre, obsessive rituals we engage in each day–namely, putting little black lines on paper. We need feedback, honesty, and other perspectives. We need someone to draw out of us what we are trying to say so that we may write it more clearly.
I’m a very monogamous person (I’ve been with my husband since high school) so multi-membered writing groups haven’t left me fulfilled. Once I picked a single partner, however, I really started getting somewhere. We are very different–in style, in voice, in genre, and in personality–but our common ground is our passion for writing and the fact that we get each other. We give each other balance. We ask the right questions of each other.
We also pick a location to meet that’s scenically inspiring. It keeps us stimulated and makes work feel like play–though we work very hard during these sessions.
If you are a writer, finding a partner or group to suit your personality will help you climb to the next level. All of us are far sighted to a certain degree–we see other’s writing with clarity, but lose focus when we look at our own. The symbiotic relationship of critiquing and being critiqued will strengthen your writing immeasurably, and teach you to read your own work more objectively.
Find a partner, find a place, and allow the Muse to work through you.