One other crucial part of a writing partner, group or writing alone is the waiting. I don't know about you, but the waiting kills me. Slowly. Painfully. Kills. Me.
Waiting for critiques to return, waiting to finish the stupid *&#@ thing in the first place, waiting to wait some more while you query agents. Then, I hear, there is more waiting.
I'm learning, slowly, to take advantage of all the waiting. While my nano novel rested (after first being a rebel and thinking I could jump straight into edits. ha. ha.) I started a new project. You know that incredible high of knowing you can actually write a novel, so why not write a ton more? Uhm. No answer. When that novel got to a point of needing to rest before I could finish it (I don't think I'll finish it, actually.) I started on the editing/revising process of my nano project. But, in between those times when revision seems too overwhelming or it's out on critique chopping blocks, what do I really do that is helpful in the waiting process?
Journal: Remember that freedom of writing without any purpose other than to express your soul. No fragments, past and present tense mixes fine and the POV is always first and always sounds great. Because it's you. And you might discover something new about yourself. Something that may have snuck in while you've been in stories having torrid affairs with main characters and punctuation marks.
Make a Plan: There's nothing like the written word, right? We love it. So, use it. Write the title of your novel at the top of a sheet of paper. Write down things about it that come to you. What does it mean to you? Now write out your process. Will you re-write before any other eyes see? Will you go ahead and send it to the critique partners and then re-write, edit and send it back? Do you even have other eyes to look at your work? Write it all out, all the way to querying agents/or self-publishing/or small press publishers.
Smell the Flowers: Yes, there is life out there and it's waiting to see you. It's your inspiration, don't let the worry and doubt monsters keep you buried in frozen foods and ice cream.
Read: Read for enjoyment. DO NOT COMPARE your WIP to the brilliant romance/thriller/YA/Paranormal/Inspirational novel you are reading. Let go of your writing for a moment. Just long enough to show your support to a fellow author by reading their book. Simply escape into it. Do not analyze. That is for later. Remember...you are waiting.
Learn Something New: Whether it be about writing or something else. Learning is stimulating your brain and the waiting...well it only sucks your brain dry. Trust me.
And when all else fails....have you seen the new app on Facebook?! :0)
What do you do to keep the dreaded wait more bearable?