Do Goal Buddies Work?
October 12, 2006 2:27 PM   Subscribe

I've often read that the way writers can maintain their momentum is to get a 'goal buddy,' someone you'd meet with or talk to once a week so you can encourage each other and kick each other in the butt and give advice. Have any of you done this? Has it worked for you? What was the secret to staying on topic and staying motivated/focused instead of getting distracted and talking about gossip/family or general complaining?
posted by clairezulkey to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have never done this for writing specifically, but it certainly works for exercise and doing homework etc. Feel free to email me if you want someone naggy, with a sense of humor, and a soft spot for ridiculous science fiction.
posted by shownomercy at 2:29 PM on October 12, 2006

I have worked with a writer's group that met every two weeks.

It worked in the sense of providing deadlines, which is the best motivator, and in providing feedback for moving forward with a new draft.

it's a great tool and I dont know if there's any secret besides taking care of business first before going on to personal stuff. Having a deadline and people to hold me to it ("i'll bring you a new draft by the 23rd so you can read it and we can discuss on the 30th") is the key for me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:57 PM on October 12, 2006

I found out about my writer's group, called Shotgun Muse (it's online and I'm not going to link but you can probably Google it) through Mefi Projects. Since I'm in Korea it works well because it's online, and it's anonymous (in other words, you can submit under pen names). The requirements are two pieces of writing, ot one piece of at least 2,000 words, every two weeks. You aso have to write three critiques every two weeks. Having a deadline certainly gets my arse in gear.

I also have found that something like NaNoWriMo is a good goal because you can break it down into segments — in order to make the 50,000 word mark, you have to write 2,000 words a day (and take weekends off).

On 43 Folders I learned about the writers' hack where you set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes then writen nonstop, without editing or even stopping to think, until it goes off. Then you get a two minute break to check the internet or whatever, then 10 more minutes of writing. At the end of an hour you've done 50 minutes of work.

I also like to write on paper, away from the computer or TV. It takes longer to write by hand than the type but I'm not pulled by the temptation to surf the web or the cable.

Lastly, here's something I read yesterday: 50 strategies for making yourself work.

Basically I try different things, which work at different times. It's just a matter of seeing what works for you.

Whoo. Longest answer EVAR.
posted by Brittanie at 3:41 PM on October 12, 2006

Spellcheck, where art thou?
posted by Brittanie at 3:42 PM on October 12, 2006

If you have a writing buddy like this, it could be fun to have a weekly competition of "who has a larger wordcount" for each week; loser buys the winner a beer! You could also give each other 'assignments' if you were stuck, like, "Ok, by next week I want to see you kill off a character" or "I dare you to work the phrase "six pints of eggplant soup" into your text."

Frankly, I couldn't work like this; I cannot stand to talk about or have anyone read my work until it's -done-, but a lot of people thrive on regular feedback and companionship in the writing process.
posted by Rubber Soul at 5:25 PM on October 12, 2006

I know people who have done this for dissertations, and I did it when I was working on my master's. None of us met in person though--I knew my writing buddy was going to call me at a specific time, and I had to have written at least two pages (or whatever other arbitrary amount) by then. Usually I'd start writing a couple hours before he called, so by the time I heard from him, I was in the swing of things. It was a nice quick break for some chatter about what I was working on and then back to work!

Not meeting in person helps cut down on the small talk. We kept each other updated on our projects and met socially at other times, but the phone calls were specifically geared toward getting us to actually do some writing.
posted by leesh at 7:28 PM on October 12, 2006

Sorry about that last bit; my cat stepped on the keyboard as I was posting.
posted by leesh at 7:29 PM on October 12, 2006

Sorry about that last bit; my cat stepped on the keyboard as I was posting.

posted by chrissyboy at 11:22 PM on October 12, 2006

A friend of mine used one of our other friends to be her goal buddy when writing her thesis. She was having real trouble getting it written, but he whipped her into shape good! However, it really depends on who you're getting to be your goal buddy. In this case, he took it VERY seriously and constantly gave her crap if she was slacking.
posted by antifuse at 3:42 AM on October 13, 2006

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