Tags: dates

A Writer’s Dates

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: October 1, 2012
Categories: Basics, Events, Writing Process
Comments: No Comments

This fall, I’m looking to rev up my dating life.

I’m not the only Scriva wanting to do so. Even attached Scrivas are looking to set up more dates, regular dates.

WRITING dates, that is.

I’ll discuss broad categories of writing dates (and some variants) below: THE CLASSIC, THE MORE-IS-MERRIER (remember group dates, with people going out as part of a group to get acquainted in a comfortable, low-key way?), and THE SOLO.


THE CLASSIC Writing Date
The advantage of writing with one other person is that it’s straight-forward, easy to arrange. You talk with the one person and it’s done. And, because the other person is counting on you, you both make it happen. You may set up a standing date, meeting each week at a regular time—and maybe place—so there’s even less to think about. Some of the at least occasional writing-together permutations I know of within Viva Scriva are Addie writing with Melissa, Amber with Liz, I with Nicole, sometimes with Addie…

I started writing with Nicole in 2006, when she moved to Oregon and was looking for a writing buddy. She’s the one who later invited me to join her at a newly-forming critique group [see Liz’s early post about the forming of Viva Scriva]. For the longest time, Nicole and I met Thursday evenings at the same fun cafe in Portland’s Pearl District, sometimes sharing soup I’d brought along as both of us plugged away at our novels. Then her second son came along, later the need for her to go back to work, so our writing dates became intermittent.

At the beginning of this summer, we started to write Monday evenings, but find we need to reconsider possibilities as fall schedules shift and solidify. Addie too expressed interest in making some cozy writing times happen, once we get a better sense of what these cooler months will hold.

(variation) THE TAG-ALONG
I’ve joined Addie and Melissa in the past on some of their writing dates, exploring a fun range of Portland’s cafes with them. This was their set writing time that they graciously opened up to me. I call this kind of writing date the Tag-Along, which I guess can be considered a variation on the Classic or an incipient, starter form of…

We’ve had all-Scriva writing days sometimes called mini-retreats [such as one exactly a year ago at Ruth’s], rather rare but precious times when all the Scrivas gather at somebody’s house to write. This may be for a long morning or afternoon-into-evening, usually with a meal to wrap things up and allow us time to talk.

(variation) THE OPEN HOUSE
A variant of this, so far mostly a possibility we’ve thrown around in the past, is the Open House, where one of us writes at home at a regular or set time, a pot of tea on the stove, ready to welcome whichever Scrivas choose to join in. Snacks are welcomed, a bite together afterward optional.

THE SOLO Writing Date

Then there is the solo writing date (somewhat like the Artist’s Date from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way). The Solo is an inalienable time and place where a writer goes for a regular writing session. Liz is a pro and shining beacon of solo writing dates, fueling up with eggs for breakfast before heading to the library one day a week for undistracted writing. Michelle began following in her footsteps [see her blog post as she started this journey]. Because the Solo writing date takes place outside your usual milieu, it, like dates with others, is more likely to happen and allow for good writing.

What are the advantages of writing dates?
-You know it’s going to happen. The things we write down and commit to do with others and/or at a regular time tend to happen, versus the good things we just intend to do at some indeterminate point.

-For all writing dates but the Solo, you connect with your peers. Writing dates feed you even after they’re over, helping you not feel lonesome during the rest of your writing time, when most likely you are writing alone.

What are the disadvantages? And some recommendations
-You can visit for too long. It’s a good idea to limit chat to the very beginning and/or end of a writing session. Nicole and I aren’t always very good about this, though we sustain that the talk is an important part of the writing process. Topics include what we’re reading; our works-in-progress or future projects; goals, dreams, and opportunities; work and how that supports our writing.

-The writing date might not be the right length of time for you.
In that case, you can come just for the time that works for you, if that’s shorter than the other person plans to write. Or if you need more time, see if you can splice the writing date with solo writing time before or after to make it a better fit for you. That way, you can keep going if you’re on a roll.

So how about it? Single, happily married, or in between, you too might want to rev up your dating life. Your WRITING dating life, that is.

-Sabina I. Rascol

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