Honorary Heartlette – Myretta Robens

September 2, 2007 at 9:09 am | Posted in friendship, Honorary Heartlette, Myretta Robens, relationships, writing | 5 Comments

Thanks to the Heartlettes for the invitation to blog with you today. The fact that these delightful ladies have joined together to blog about writing is a wonderful example of the topic I’ve chosen for my Purple Hearts blog: Writing Friendships.

After I finished my first Regency Romance manuscript, my critique partner told me, in the kindest possible way, that the work was not salvageable. Then we talked about all the things that were wrong with it. This conversation was probably the most productive learning experience of my writing life.

This blog is about friends, and how critical they are to a working writer (or at least to this working writer). Writing, as any writer will tell you, is a solitary endeavor. Ultimately, the work is yours: alone at your computer, on the back porch with a notebook, in the car at your child’s soccer game, tapping away at the laptop. No matter how many people are around you, you manage to block them out and immerse yourself in your story. And, no matter how much help they offer, what appears on the page is yours.

Nevertheless, although we experience it in different ways, the community of writers and readers is also a vital part of what we do and who we are. For some of us, it’s the monthly trek to your RWA Chapter meeting; the chance to hear what other writers are working on, what obstacles they are overcoming, what successes they have had. For others, it’s the after-meeting meal, where you sit down with your particular writing friends and talk, in depth about writing issues.

Then, there are the on-line friendships: list serves and discussion boards where the discussion ranges from funny to intense, where information is shared, rants are validated, and friendships are formed. How about blogs? An interesting one-way relationship. I met Megan Frampton when we were both waiting for publication of our first novels and writing journals for All about Romance. We have become good friends and speak frequently, but I follow her blog to keep track of what she’s up to on a daily basis. On the other hand, I feel as though I know Carolyn Jewel because I read her writing blog every morning, but I’m certain she has no clue who I am.

First readers are important members of my group of writing friends. These people are not writers but are an inestimable support. They are the people who read with a loving but critical eye and feed back, not only the praise that is so desperately desired, but the constructive criticism that is desperately needed. These are the people who will tell you that, although they adore your heroine, they have not fallen in love with your hero. They will also, I have learned, tell you where your punctuation is wrong, and where you have dropped prepositions and pronouns (a particular problem of mine). And they are your cheering section, the people who tell you they are proud of what you do and encourage you to keep going.

Last is that most intimate of writing friendship, the critique partner. For me, this is the relationship that makes writing possible. Although others can – and, believe me, will – be willing to offer critiques and, although these critiques might be quite valuable, the critique partnership goes that extra step. The best of all critique partners is one with whom you have developed an absolute trust, one from whom you can accept the verdict that the manuscript over which you have labored for the previous nine months cannot be saved. A full partnership thrives on honesty and an understanding of each others’ strengths and weaknesses, each others’ dreams and goals. It includes, not only critique, but brainstorming, sympathy and celebration. It is a friendship in its fullest sense.

So, what about you out there? Do you have writing relationships? A support group? A first reader? A critique partner or group? Do you think anyone really writes in solitude?

Honorary Heartlette – Myretta Robens

August 26, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Posted in Honorary Heartlette, Myretta Robens, romance, writing | Leave a comment

Regency writer, Myretta Robens, guest blogs on September 2!

Are you a Jane Austen fan? Check out Myretta’s home away from home, The Republic of Pemberley. You can learn more about our upcoming guest by clicking on the Honorary Heartlettes link above.

We hope you will join us and welcome her to the Purple Hearts!

Stay tuned . . .

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