The value of a writing goal buddy

The value of a writing goal buddy

Team of rock climbers.

A number of years ago, I participated in a writing challenge sponsored by (FLX) that changed how I viewed the benefits of being a solo writer. I’ve always enjoyed working alone – even in business school I hated group assignments. Maybe because I often ended up doing the bulk of the work myself, I had since avoided anything resembling a group project. Until the FLX opportunity.

The challenge, called the Query Challenge at the time, partnered like-minded freelance writers together on teams that competed against one another for bragging rights. During the course of six or eight weeks, team members earned points for pitching ideas to editors (1 point), following up with editors (1 point), and landing an assignment (3 points).

I learned that I am a very competitive person during my first challenge, which benefited both my team and me. With the encouragement of my teammates, along with tips from them on breaking into particular markets and strategies for cranking out more pitches each day, I ended the challenge with a number of new assignments and a bank account that was several thousand dollars fatter.

Perhaps even more important than the money my team helped me to earn, however, was the realization that other writers can be instrumental in each others’ success. Having someone, preferably another writer, to commiserate with, complain to, brainstorm with, and refer work to was suddenly very appealing.

Fortunately, as many writers know, I subsequently found a terrific writer to, in a sense, partner with. Sandra Beckwith and I are goal buddies – friends who help each other set goals, make progress on those goals, and encourage each other when progress seems elusive.

Some of the types of ways we help each other include:

– Setting annual goals and reviewing progress on them throughout the year

– Providing feedback on new ideas or drafts of projects

– Sharing resources we each have found helpful

– Promoting each other

– Forwarding PR and referring client opportunities

– Brainstorming blog topics

We sit down regularly over lunch to review where we are in our respective work projects and to find out how we can support each other. I know that I would not have had the courage to pursue some of the writing projects that have come my way without my goal buddy’s support.

So when I heard that FLX is starting a new variation of the Query Challenge this Monday, June 24th, I wanted to be sure that all my writer friends knew about it and had considered participating. This challenge is all about personal reinvention – exploring new opportunities as writers – complete with a team of writers to cheer you on. Not surprisingly, it’s called the Reinvention Challenge.

I’d love to pull together a team of writers interested in exploring information products or ghostwriting, so if you think that sounds interesting, please email the Reinvention Challenge coordinator, Diane Benson Harrington (dianebh at asap. You need to be an FLX member to join in, so if you’re not, simply pay your annual fee first and you’ll be all set.

I still love writing alone in my office, but it’s also comforting to know that I have a goal buddy to turn to when I need help achieving the goals I’ve set for myself.

Do you have a goal buddy? How do you work together?



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Marcia Layton Turner

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