Thursday, November 04, 2010


By Paula Matter

Remember this?

Writing / revising is a lot like the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire television show.  (Stay with me, it might make sense after a bit). Writing is a solitary endeavor but there comes a time when other people are needed. Thankfully (Aha! I used this month’s theme!), I have many people who I go to for help. My lifelines, if you will. (I’m going to have to look that up later: If you will. If you will what?)
When I’m writing and get stuck, I have options. I can keep writing with a 50/50 chance I’ll get it right.

I can ask the audience (critique partners, other writerly types).

Or I can phone a friend. Fortunately for my friends I shuffle them around, so I’m not bugging the same ones constantly.

So far, none of the above, thankfully (!) has happened to me.
When looking up videos for this blog post, I learned there are more lifelines than there used to be. I didn’t spend time looking at the newer episodes, but maybe someone out there knows what they are and can share.
Apparently, the Phone A Friend lifeline has been dropped. I couldn’t imagine omitting that from my life.
Just for fun, I share this next clip.

May we all have the confidence and success of this man:

How about you? Who or what are your lifelines? Even if you’re not a writer, go ahead and share. We at Working Stiffs want to get to know our readers better!


Martha Reed said...

Hi, Paula. Great post. I have lots of lifelines.

Some are friends who have been with me since I first started (and are still willing to listen to me!), some of my co-workers keep asking how it's going because it seems weird to them that anyone actually writes books; and of course, my independent editor is proving to be an invaluable second pair of eyes and ears whenever I need to bounce a new idea off someone!

Annette said...

Paula, I love that last clip of the guy who won. I've seen it before, but I still love the guy for calling his dad on national TV so he could share that moment.

Paula, you are definitely one of my my lifelines. Joyce is another. I have to include my friend Jessi because I've been emailing her questions a lot the last few days.

Thankfully (there's the theme again!), I have a lot of lifelines for all different questions. And I don't just mean writing.

Joyce Tremel said...

Fun post!

I wouldn't survive without my lifelines. Writing is such a solitary endeavor. We really need others to tell us if we're on the right track with what we're writing. Or if it sucks.

A few of my lifelines are Annette, Sandy Stephen, and former Working Stiff Kristine Coblitz (who just had Baby #2!).

Ramona said...

Paula, what a good concept.

#1 is my walking partner, who is not a writer, but patiently allows me to bounce off ideas while we trudge our 3 mile course. Her responses are as a reader, so her perspective is invaluable. Plus, she is a wonderful and patient friend. I owe her many cookies.

#2 is a friend who has been tough-loving me with business advice. It's like pep talks, from a Marine.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Long walks.

I work more things out in my head by reading my last section then taking a long brisk walk.

Gina said...

I work out a lot walking, too. It also helps to know a former cop and lots of lawyers.