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Peer Pressure is a Writer's Friend

Sure, we were raised that peer pressure is bad.  Everyone in my junior high wore makeup - except me.  I heard many variations on the whole if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?  Of course, those lectures extended to driving too fast, drinking, smoking, drugs, staying out late, seeing R-rated movies...my mother was extraordinarily frightened that I might succumb to peer pressure.

But as a writer, I embrace peer pressure.  I welcome it.  I seek it out.  Peer pressure can keep us going.  Just last night I was on Twitter.  A very famous author put out a call for people who wanted to do 1K1HR.  For anyone not familiar, this stands for 1,000 words in 1 hour.  It is a way to force yourself-via peer pressure-to sit down and bang out those words for an hour.  Knowing that you'll have to report in on your progress at the end of that hour really helps keep your fingers tethered to the keyboard.

I also belong to an online group where we report our progress weekly.  That is the ultimate peer pressure - not just the need to broadcast what you've accomplished, but to see how much more other people may have done?  Great motivation.

And then there's my critique group.  They 'pressure' me to submit pages every month.  Good ones.  All these tools were helpful to me when I wrote on spec, but are even more important now that I'm writing to contracted deadlines.  No matter how much I love to write, there are plenty of times when I'd rather be seduced by reading a book, or watching TV, or just about anything besides writing.  Peer pressure gives me the structure this very unstructured career would otherwise lack.  Do your peers help you stay on track?

3 comments:

booksbyjason

I like it! I only have myself as my chief antagonist (well, that and the voices). I demand 2k - 3k (or more) words a day of myself on my current project. I regularly post my updates using #amwriting hashtag to keep myself accountable - but I doubt anyone other than myself pays enough attention to notice if I'm sticking with it or not.

Accountability is definitely a powerful tool.

Salmaan Dewar

I really think you're right. I find any excuse to procrastinate rather than write - even talking to other writers (<3) on twitter. Having that peer pressure from a critique group or another writer can really help you turn things up a notch.

Liv

I love doing the #1k1h thing, and yes, whether it's the accountability or the motivation, it's my peeps that keep me going.
;)

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