Recently, three of my friends and I started a writing group. We call it the Syndicate, and I have this far-fetched fantasy that one day, when people look back on the great writers of the twenty-first century, the name of our group will be among them. Basically, I want us to become the next Inklings. That is, if four teenagers meeting in a local coffee shop could one day become legendary among authors. Give it thirty years or so, maybe it’ll happen.
I can’t take credit for forming the group myself, but I think joining a writing group was one of the best things I could’ve done. Now I’m discussing my stories weekly, bouncing ideas around, giving and receiving feedback, and WRITING. I’m really terrible at sitting down to write every day, and although I’ll come up with random paragraphs and chapter titles throughout the day, I haven’t written much of my actual book. Now I have accountability factored in to my writing. My friends want to read my story and discuss it with me just as much as I want to read and discuss theirs with them. I finished a chapter the night before the Syndicate meeting last week so I would have something to discuss. What was originally a one-hour writing session turned into me glancing up at the clock and realizing it was 1AM. With that glance came a sudden yearning for sleep, but also a revelation: a deadline is a great motivator. It’s easy to use that phrase when referring to term papers or projects, but having weekly accountability instead of a self-imposed deadline (those have never worked for me), motivates me so much more. If you don’t already have a few friends you regularly share your work with, DO IT! Even if they’re not writers, they might have some good feedback and ideas. So far this week, I’ve only written a few paragraphs off a random thought, but the next chapter will begin soon enough, even if it’s written at 1AM the night before the Syndicate.