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Writing: How To Work With A Writing Buddy

Writing: How to Work with a Writing Buddy

C J Browne and Linda Finlay headshots

Writing buddies C J Browne (left) and Linda Finlay

English indie author C J Browne, who has recently launched her debut thriller Revenge Ritual, describes how finding a great writing buddy help both parties work towards their goals of publishing their books, no matter how your books are published.

Writing can be a solitary occupation, but it doesn’t have to be. One way to prevent this is to find a writing buddy – another author who is willing to share their work, their problems and successes. Bestselling debut crime author S J I Holliday (Blackwood) puts some of her success down to having a writing buddy who she met via Twitter. They critique each other’s chapters and encourage each other to keep on writing.

My Writing Buddy and Me

My own experience of having a writing buddy is similar but less remote. I met Linda Finlay on a novel writing course which neither of us were finding very helpful. But we did value sharing our progress and decided to meet monthly for a literary chat over coffee. In between our monthly meetings, we emailed a sample of our work in progress to each other for feedback, often accompanied with a question about our characterisation or pace.

We went on writing workshops together and compared notes about what we’d learnt. It was a lot of fun, especially the one on writing sex scenes. Linda was already writing short stories and we often shared ideas over a latte and Italian biscuit before submitting our efforts to the same magazine or competition. When we both received rejections we consoled each other as we shared the accompanying critiques, sometimes re-writing and re-submitting to eventual success.

And the result: Linda is now an established Penguin author. Her third romantic historical saga A Family for Christmas is out now. My success took a little longer but Endeavour Press have just released my psychological thriller Revenge Ritual as an ebook, with the POD version out on CreateSpace.

Benefits of Having a Writing Buddy

Cover of Revenge Ritual by C J Browne

Now available in ebook and print: C J Browne's debut novel

Of course, we will never know to what extent having a writing buddy helped. But during the low times when I was ready to give up, I’m sure that without Linda’s encouragement Revenge Ritual would never have been published. And I do know that my journey to becoming a published writer wouldn’t have been the amazing experience it has been without my writing buddy.

  • Valuable honest feedback from someone your respect. Linda and I were both at the early stages of novel writing and improved together.
  • Sounding board.Someone to bounce daft or outrageous ideas off.
  • Exchanging information about opportunities for competitions, interesting courses or writing services to avoid.
  • Increased motivation In my case each time Linda achieved one of our joint milestones it drove me on to do the same knowing it was possible.
  • Emotional Support. Perhaps the most important, especially having someone who really understands how devastating rejections feel. It saves burdening members of the family with something they can’t figure out. And it is brilliant to have a friend at the end of an email or telephone who knows what it means to share your successes – and to celebrate the achievements every step of the way to publication.

My Writing Buddy's Verdict

cover of A Family for Christmas

Linda Finlay's latest novel

I’ll let my writing buddy, Linda Finlay, have the last word:

“They say each journey begins with a single step and how much nicer to have a friend along the way. C J’s encouragement and honest feedback has spurred me on.  When working alone, as writers do, that shared frustration or success over a cup of coffee can leave you feeling heartened and ready to take the next step, even if it is a rewrite. It is important to find someone trustworthy and with a sense of humour, as I have been lucky to do.”

OVER TO YOU If you've had experience of writing buddies, we'd love to hear about it, whether good or bad!

#Writing with an #author buddy - case study by C J Browne #ww Click To Tweet



Author: C J Browne

British novelist C J Browne worked for many years for the Home Office in the Crime Prevention Unit (as did P D James), and has also been a probation officer, lecturer in psychology, consultant for a crime prevention charity and Government Advisor for public order.
She used her Winston Churchill Fellowship to research community policing and drug prevention in the USA and Bermuda. She has now given up preventing crime to write about it. Her debut novel "Revenge Ritual" is now available in ebook and paperback. Find out more on her website: www.cjbrownecrimewriter.com.


This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. I have tried with writing buddies. It hasn’t worked out well; one was actually quite depressing from the start. She never understood the you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

    I’ve relied on my local writers’ group for quite a while, but many of them drifted off before COVID-19, and the latter was the death knell for us. Now, well, sad…

    I take writing seriously, and have six commercial books to my credit. I write historical fiction and about the human condition, but don’t think of myself as stuck in any genre. I do equivalent offerings in return and read everything carefully.

    1. Thanks Kirsty. They certainly are and I was very lucky to find Linda. You never know what’s going to happen when you start a writing course, which is how we met. CJ

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