Writing with Friends
A weekly writing assignment shared with a friend has turned into a gift of words and stories. A number of months ago my friend, Sara and I, both claiming our identity as writers, decided to share our writing with one another.
To hold one another accountable. To actually get words on paper by giving ourselves a weekly practice.
Our weekly prompt came from the 5-Minute Friday community that provides one word to write on (we didn’t limit ourselves to 5 minutes, though!) http://katemotaung.com/2017/01/05/five-minute-friday-connect/ Each week we share our writings with one another and each week we respond to each other’s writing with how the writing spoke to us. Whether intentionally or not, our feedback to one another has been full of affirmations. Sharing writing with another is vulnerable enough; we’re grateful for the space to be open and honest and encouraged in our words. Over the months I’ve learned more about my voice and writing discipline. I’ve grown as a writer. Here are a few of the lessons learned:
*Writing consistently each week makes me sit down and write. Sounds simple enough but I can find so many excuses and distractions to keep me from doing the hard work of writing. Knowing someone else is on the other side of the words forces me to sit down and put pen to paper. It’s easy enough to put writing on the end of my to-do list or to write half-distracted while my daughter runs around, but having someone to hold me accountable gets the work done.
*My writing partner is a dear friend and someone I trust which helps me to be vulnerable in my writing. I don't have to censor myself or worry about what she’ll think of me. I’m not afraid to bare it all in words. It’s reciprocal, as I am entrusted with her vulnerabilities as well when I read her writing. It’s a true gift. Trusting my partner also helps me try new styles of writing. However I’m inspired, I just write and go with it knowing that my words will be received in love and encouragement.
*The word we write on for each week becomes a lens into which to view my world. Many times I’ll sit down and free-write on the week's word. I let my hand keep writing and see where the words take me. Sometimes what I write ends up being shared and other times it’s simply a part of the writing process. But either way I keep the week’s word front and center and see where the inspiration takes me.
*Reading my friend’s writing shows me different styles of writing. She’ll write in a unique format that will draw me in immediately, or she’ll began with a honest truth, or a telling question. We both love reading and know that to write is to read and vice versa. Together my partner and I are cultivating both our writing and reading skills.
*Finally, each week I’m reminded of our love of words. That’s why we write and share our writings with one another. We’re committed to the craft of writing and to building one another up in our words and work. We hope to keep our love of words alive and growing.
So each week we’ll keep writing and reading. Sometimes we’ll miss a week or two, but we’ll always come back to where we started: a love of words.