Today as I was looking through some of the social media writing groups I am a member of searching for a topic I noticed that there were several versions of the same thing happening, people banding together for the sake of writing. It is no secret that having a sounding board or friend to ask advice from because brainstorming alone is usually not as productive. Having someone there with different perspectives can be extremely helpful but there is more to the it than just a a friend to ask a quick question.
One of the big posts I saw when I jumped onto the Nanowrimo group page was a sprint thread. For those that don't know a sprint is when writers are struggling for a word count they will post their current word count and set a time limit then, putting themselves under the time crunch pressure, they write as much as possible in that time frame posting the result at the end. The thread is designed to have several other writers join in the sprint with the original writer so that the can be motivated by everyone else writing along with them. Also those of us that enjoy some friendly competition can get inspired to try and beat others.
During November when thousands of writers tackle the writing challenge not only do we take on the sprints for assistance and camaraderie but many take the search for others further going to organized write-ins. We also write in several locations and like coffee shops or libraries just to be around people like ourselves. Having the company around us may seem like a distraction but I have found that for me it keeps me focused. I realized long ago that even though the act of writing is a solitary task the world of writing can be very social.
When preparing to submit a manuscript the team environment is just as important as during the writing process, in fact it can be even more vital. Last week we discussed why editing is needed before sending your story off to agents or publishers. Alongside the editors stand a much less known group though, the beta readers. I briefly touched on them in the last submission post. When going through the editing initial editing process it can be a good idea to reach out to some of the writing buddies you had during Nanowrimo or other writing time to find people you trust to read through your work. They can suggest changes or may see typos and plot wholes you skipped over. They do a much broader job than an editor but can prepare you for what is coming during the process.
Creating a strong team that has mutual respect will ultimately be a large benefit for you. As we learn we can begin to believe we are smarter and more prepared for things than we actually are so it is vital that we are able to stay objective and allow our support system to lift us up but also keep us grounded. It can be a fine line yet with the ones that care about us by our side it is a much easier journey.