Yesterday in the shower, where all my best ideas are born, I thought about my writing goals for the summer. Most involve revision: I plan to revise my dissertation per my committee's comments so I can start shopping it around. I also want to revise my long-neglected second-draft novel. I credit The Artist's Way and NaNoWriMo for that novel. The first for giving me the clarity to realize I needed to write it, and the second for providing a challenge that gave me a deadline. While I wrote it over a ten week period and in the spring and early summer of 2002, NaNo provided the structural inspiration I needed. I decided to go to graduate school when I realized that I didn't know what the hell I was doing in terms of storytelling and revision. Now that I'm nearly done with school, it's time to return to that big mess of a novel and coax it into something I can sell. I have a number of stories to revise as well, and some non-fiction work that I want to develop.
I'm fortunate in that I have writing friends. They'd be my friends anyway, but it's our writing that bonds us together. I thought about how many writers (and aspiring writers) don't have that community, though, and I want to do something about it.
So, this whole thing is still percolating in my head, but I wanted to see if there is any interest. My writing readers most likely have checked out my Treadmill Journal, and some have even started their own, which makes my heart sing. What you don't see on the Treadmill is how I handle deadlines that I don't want to deal with. Usually I call my girl Dana and tell her I'm going to do X by a certain date. Then I usually threaten myself with something. Last summer, it was giving away my yarn stash. At other times, I've told Dana I can't call her until I've finished what I set out to do...and we LOVE to talk, so that's a serious consequence for me.
As the water poured over me, I got to thinking about a different sort of swap. Not even a swap, really, but a matchmaking service. I have this vision that I would have a number of writers sign up and fill out a questionnaire. Based on what they're working on and other interests, I'd match them up with a writing partner. Partners would promise to check in on each other once a week throughout the summer, and maybe there could be a reward sent if the partner reaches her goal, or at least makes good progress toward it. There would be no pressure to exchange, read, or critique material, unless the partners agreed to do so. I'm imagining a blog set up where everyone can post triumphs and tribulations, and we can have a writing community that is based on encouragement and cooperation.
Those of you who write fiction, non-fiction, children's stories, poetry, whatever you write, and are serious about your writing--or are struggling to make it a truly important and regular part of your life--will you tell me if this appeals to you? Would you want to participate? What else would you want to see happening?
If at least ten people are interested, I'll work on getting this together during May so we can get busy starting in June.
And if you're wanting a yarn-related swap? Well, I've got some ideas cooking for that, too. Yes, it may be time to Kit again soon!