When I was pregnant, a woman I admired but didn’t really know invited me to meet her every week to write in a cafe. I didn’t find out until later that her real goal had been to encourage a mutual friend to write more often — she invited him first, and he’d suggested me — but it didn’t really matter. I was grateful for the encouragement to get out. My pregnancy was so awful that I really looked forward to my one afternoon a week, writing.
Finding someone to write with can be tricky. You want someone who can sit silently for an agreed-upon amount of time. Someone who doesn’t fidget. Someone who won’t sigh or giggle over his own work. Someone who won’t be diving in and out of her bag or upsetting the glasses on the table.
The transition from chatting over lunch (or whichever meal you choose) to settling down to work can be awkward. Ideally, as much as you are enjoying each other’s company, both of you will be equally eager to write. That transition is one of those moments in life that gets easier with practice.
It’s probably best, in the beginning, to try out a new writing partner once or twice before committing to a schedule. When Christine and I wrote together, we just met whenever her crazy working schedule gave her a free day. We both felt the lack when we couldn’t meet for a week or two. When Thorn suggested we meet to write, she had a day and time in mind. Luckily, that worked out well.
There’s a lot to be said for a regular writing date, if you can manage it. I found that it really did focus my thoughts, knowing that I had to be ready to write at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. Don’t rush into anything, though. There’s nothing worse than if one of you is burning to write — and the other one won’t shut up.