Who Needs a Writing Buddy? You Do! -->

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Who Needs a Writing Buddy? You Do!

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Work, family, cleaning, exercise, the latest World Cup game—every day brings countless responsibilities and distractions that get in the way of writing. Writing takes time, and it can be hard to stay motivated and easy to find another day slipping by without another word on the page.

If this sounds familiar, what you need is a writing buddy. Your buddy is someone who checks in with you periodically, perhaps once a month, once a week, or even every day, to hold you responsible for pursuing your writing goals. The idea is that if you share your writing goal with another person who commits to checking in with you on that goal, you’re more likely to stay on track. Having a writing buddy or buddies can also help you feel connected with a writing community.

Setting Up a Successful Partnership

To get started, you'll first want to figure out what communication method will work best for you: Twitter, Facebook, email, a Google hangout or Skype video, texts, or a phone call.

Next, connect with someone. Your buddy might be a classmate, a friend, or even a stranger. If you’re not sure how to find a buddy, send a message to your connections and social media networks. Use a hashtag like #acwri (academic writing) or #phdchat (PhD chat) or tweet to @WaldenU (Walden University’s Twitter handle) to broaden your message to a wide and relevant audience. If you're part of the Walden Capstone Writing Community, post to the forum. "Like" us on Facebook and post to our wall. Direct readers to this blog post and let them know you’re looking for a buddy—or let us know (find us on Facebook, Twitter, and G+), and we’ll help!

Once you have a buddy,
  1. Decide if you want your conversations to be public (Tweets, Facebook wall) or private (email, video chats, texts, phone calls, or private Twitter or Facebook messages).
    Tip: Publicizing your conversation about your writing goals and progress can help keep you even more accountable.
  2. Establish how much communication you each want or need (Once a week? Once a day?) and commit to that frequency.
  3. Determine what kind of motivation you each need:
    - A friendly touch-base? (“Hey, how is your writing coming along today? What are you working on?”)
    - A pep talk? (“Just finish one page this evening. You can do it! You’re a writing rock star!”)
    - A drill sergeant? (“Hey lazybones! Stop surfing the internet and start writing! Now!”)
    - A competitor? (“I finished my second round of revisions today. What have YOU done?”)

  4. Consider what kind of response you need when you don’t meet your goal (and there will be times when you don’t):
    - A little slack—you’re trying!
    - Empathy—you could use someone who understands what you’re going through.
    - A reality check—you need your buddy to strictly hold you to your goal.
writing buddies on Twitter

Your Cat Doesn't Count

Writers love to think of their pets as their writing buddies (just searching #writingbuddy on Twitter for proof), but your cat, dog, iguana, or other furry or scaly friend cannot keep you accountable in the same way a human buddy can. Pets make great company (or perhaps really bad company) for writers, but checking in with another writer will be a better motivator than Rover's puppy-dog stare. 

Cat comic (c) icanhascheezeburger.com

Stay Connected and Inspire Each Other

Let us know how it goes if you have or find a writing buddy. We've love to hear what methods you use and what works for you. If you and your writing buddy use social media to communicate, include the hashtag #keepmewriting. Let’s create a motivation movement!


Anne Shiell
is a Writing Instructor and the Coordinator of Social Media Resources for the Walden University Writing Center.

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