I know it’s been awhile (when have you heard me say that before?) but it’s time once again to talk writing. Today, I want to help you feel more comfortable about sharing your new (or old!) piece with a fellow writer that you trust. We’re calling this episode: Phone a Friend.
I was coming back from my bachelorette party this past weekend in NOLA (YES! It was that awesome.) and my riding companion allowed me to interrupt her social media binge to discuss where I was in my book with like 100 characters, 30 plot lines, and worldbuilding a semi-complicated societal structure. (She’s one of my bridesmaids and best friends. She has been a phenomenal beta reader for me, and she also happens to be an effective, amazing life coach – check out Anna Marie when you get a chance and listen to her podcast. Trust me…she’s worth it!) I then commence to tell her that I’ve been thinking about changing my original format and, instead, focusing each book on one character and that character’s individual subplot while all the books share a progressive, overarching main plot. (Much like my beloved J.R. Ward does in her (insert smack smack noises here) delicious Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
Without missing a beat, she looks at me with a side eye and says, “Wait. I thought that was what you were always doing?” She then breaks down some great advice and offers some suggestions to make it more engaging and enjoyable to my readers. It was invaluable to me. That’s why she’s always one of my go-to’s for advice or for beta reading. However, Anna Marie is NOT my only go-to (which I am sure she is thankful for by the way…). Each writer or creator (of anything) needs a tight unit of trusted, supportive voices to go to for bouncing off ideas, getting a ‘reality’ check, or finding a cheerleader. This group is otherwise known as – the mastermind circle.
Every writer needs a mastermind circle just like every NASCAR driver needs a pit crew.
In NASCAR, the pit crew refuels the car, changes the tires, does any necessary repairs, and makes mechanical adjustments… in seconds. We need the same thing! You need a small group of writers, editors, agents, readers, or some combination of the above that you can trust (people you’ve met networking, friends like mine, fans, or maybe even family members) who are SUPPORTIVE of your work. You must choose those whose number one intention is to be of service to your work, to your visions, and to your goals. They will help you by going the extra mile with critiques on ideas and storylines. They can tell you where there’s a plot hole or too much plot. Occasionally, they can be the ones to tell you when it’s just time to take a break or let go.
Writing is a solitary business by trade, but it is a team sport in practice. The writer is connected to the agent/publisher (if you’ve gone the traditional route), the editors or beta readers, and the final readers. We tell the stories of whole other worlds and our small, individual ones. So, it helps to invite others in and use that help to polish our completed product. I encourage you to seek other writers, some friends, or a writing coach (shameless plug!) to help you through. Don’t be afraid to phone a friend. They may have the answers you’ve been looking for all along.
Tell us in the comments if this resonates with your experiences as a writer or who you go to in your time of need!
As always, I can’t wait to read what you’re writing!