06 January 2014

Writing goals and other weirdness

Being a writerly type, I've got some goals set for the year. One is to finish the four encyclopedia articles that are due by Tuesday, but three are done and one is under a few hundred words left, so why not procrastinate and write a blog entry?

Other than the articles, it's the usual stuff you would see on any writer's platter ... write every day, submit one short story a month for the first four months (old ones and to-be-written ones) and focus on one novel. The last one is the most important. I have five going on right now and I think it's time to end the madness and bear down on one. The daily writing has been going well for the past few months, but that hasn't always been the case with me.

Back in early 2013 I was writing on and off, but not enough to sate my pestering muse. I turned to the Internet in an attempt to find a writing buddy. I thought we could both check in with each other and make sure we were getting writing done and do critiques. Sounds good, doesn't it? I posted an ad on a site. The site is actually for people seeking "co-writers," but I thought if I explained myself well enough I could find a good match--because that's what the Internet provides without fail, right?

Here's a list of the people contacted me:

The first guy we'll call the movie guy since that's what he wanted to do. I didn't, but I figured I'd learn something. His suggestions for my stories were good and I learned a lot about writing for the screen, but ultimately he wanted to develop his idea sans my interference. That's okay since I had no desire to write my story into a B- C-movie with a 75 dollar budget. No regrets there, I learned a lot.

Next came emo blogger girl. She didn't seem too bad at the outset, but oddly, she didn't have any ideas for anything. It seemed mostly like she was looking for someone to support her in her quest for racking up oddball posts on her blog. ...and she was pissy. Like in a "needs meds" and "should wash her hair more" kind of way. Dropped.

Then came "I'm not a writer but I have lots of good ideas" girl. She had bad grammar. I think I've said enough already with that last sentence. Dropped.

Then came British songwriter girl. We developed some good stuff--one serial killer novel plotline (my contribution) and one dreamland/alternate universe plotline (her idea.) We got rolling and then she discovered she really wanted to focus on singing in bars. Hopefully the next song she learned was, "Another One Bites the Dust."

Finally came superhero girl. She really wanted to write about teen superheroes. Whatever, I'm flexible. We came up with the characters, plot, and some chapters. There was some weirdness like the occasional probing questions along the lines of "do you think sex between teens is a bad thing?" and "do you think I should have my superhero take her clothes off here?" There was also a constant feeling that I was dragging her along instead of a nice quid pro quo feeling. To test this last theory, one day I gave her something to work on and didn't follow up with a "how's that coming?" email. Eight months later, I still don't see the response in my inbox.

Thankfully, I'm getting words down now without an accountability partner. (I just recently found the term "accountability partner" in a pretty good book on writing, "Butt-in-Chair" by Jennifer Blanchard--that term would have been nice to know before my search.) If you go looking for one, perhaps you can find someone local that you know is reliable and partly sane. Ultimately, I just hope that I can help someone else avoid the crazy train that I felt compelled to ride on. Consider this post my writerly public service announcement. Also, if you go searching for my post that looks for "someone to swap critiques and check in with to encourage each other to write" it's been duly deleted.


Diane said...

'Bout damned time, is all I have to say ;).

James Heiney said...

I kept planning on getting around to it, but then there was this hurricane, then a plague of frogs, volcanoes ... you know, the usual.