Classically, people think of writing as a solitary activity. If you want to be a successful author you have to sit in alone in a room, like a monk and think.
That, my friend, will drive you crazy.
One of the most important factors to writing success is finding a "running buddy," someone you check in with, share ideas and frustrations as you advance upon the journey. It makes the whole experience more pleasurable and productive. That's why I devote an entire section to "Finding the Community You Crave," in my book The Meaning Method: Transform Writer's Block into Creative Epiphanies.
The reason why finding a running buddy is so effective is because the further you plunge into new territory, the more you need a voice (other than those in your own head) reflecting your mission back to you. The fact is, this running buddy doesn’t need to compose an extraordinary battle hymn in order to get you marching forward. All you need is their presence, to counteract the most destructive thought for any burgeoning project: “This doesn’t matter.”
We all have an annoying inner critic that puts us down and sinks us into a rut. Don’t despair. Even if you’re fighting with your project, it’s still in play.
The real death knell of creativity is, “This doesn’t matter.” You stop picking up your pen. You don’t bother to seek out inspiration. You don’t even challenge your inner critic anymore, and all the brilliant possibilities and opportunities of following through slip quietly out the back door.
But where the hell does one find this ever-renewing, ever-inspiring Energizer battery?
I always ask myself this question whenever I go out in search for my running buddy. Then I have a brief panic (which repeats itself with every single project) where I’m sure I’ll never meet anyone who wants to write along side me (I’m an expat, I’m alone, this is useless). But I always find someone, after posting in forums, absolutely certain the search is hopeless.
This is the part where I love to make dating metaphors, and most normal people look at me with a pained expression because most normal people hate dating.
And with good reason. Usually when we go out into the world in search of someone, we’re all too focused on our own heavy half of the equation. We think about what we want and need. We think about what we lack. We think about the risk we’re taking when we put ourselves out there, and how much it will hurt if the other person lets us down.
Both in writing and dating, this line of thought makes the process of partnering up slow and excruciating.
Sometimes we forget to focus on the other person, on their wants and needs, which is exactly the line of thought that welcomes them into our lives. We forget to trust that there’s somebody out there who needs us just as badly as we need them.
As I admit in the book, this is something I definitely had to learn the hard way. I'm a natural introvert. However through a series of synchronicities, I've been able to form an amazing Facebook Group of truly loving souls called The Writer's Block. I am in awe of the support they've given, especially when times get rough. If that sounds like the kind of thing you need, and you'd like to feel less alone on your journey, please join us here!