If you need someone to hold you accountable for sticking to your marketing plan AND getting a little writing done every week, try to find an online writing buddy.
An online writing buddy is simply another writer who also wants to be held accountable and knows the challenges all writers go through in staying focused and motivated from time to time.
You and your online writing buddy don't need to live in the same town. You don't even need to write at the same time. Generally, though, if you follow these tips, you'll make the most of working with an online writing buddy:
1. Make sure your writing buddy is motivated to stay on track each week and wants you to help him do that, too. You don't want a writing buddy who just wants to socialize. That would take even MORE time away from your writing.
2. Swap marketing plans via email with your buddy every Sunday night or Monday morning, so you can see what you both have planned for the week. Try to give your buddy a few suggestions if it looks like there is WAY too much stuff on his plan and he is setting himself up for disappointment at the end of the week. But if there isn't much on your buddy's marketing plan or writing schedule for the coming week, encourage your buddy to add things to his plan to challenge himself a bit more.
3. Decide on definite check points with each other during the week. For example, you might email and suggest that you check in with each other every Wednesday with a short progress report. That way, if the writing isn't going too well for one or either of you, you both have time to offer each other a few tips and encouraging words before the week is over.
4. At least once a month, set aside an hour or so when you can both agree to work on something you love AT THE SAME TIME. This might be your current novel in progress or a short story you want to submit to a contest. Then, agree on the specific time that you will both write and make sure you DO write during that time. At the end of that time, email your buddy with a report of how the writing went.
5. At the end of the week, check in with your buddy with an end-of-the-week progress report. Once you've had time to review your buddy's progress report and vice versa, encourage each other to celebrate your successes (however small or large they might be) of the current week.
6. Try to stick to a schedule of progress reports and other check-ins with your writing buddy so your emails to each other won't become overwhelming. Remember, you want a writing buddy so you can start making the most of your time, not just so you have someone to socialize with online.
Setting up a regular routine like this with your writing buddy will help you both stay on track with your writing. You'll also find that you look forward to checking in with your buddy during the week and celebrating together as you start the weekend.
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Suzanne Lieurance is a full time freelance writer, the author of 22 (at last count) published books, and the Working Writer's Coach.