Some things are better together. Coffee and cake. Cheese and wine. Laurel and Hardy. Ball gowns with baseball boots. Writing is definitely better with friends.I love writing, but it can be a lonely endeavour. When I started, it was a dirty little secret with hours sat by myself with my computer or notepad and pen. When I came ‘out’ of the writing closet, I was so excited by my WIP I’d talk about my book at length to anyone too polite to stop me, but no one really shared my enthusiasm. Then I joined a local critique group.
The Crit group led to me meeting other writers as passionate about their projects as I was about mine, and took me down the rabbit hole to discover the world of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book writer and illustrators) and a wider community of writing pals. All of this helping to make my journey less daunting as I rode the highs and lows; celebrating the good times and helping one another through the not so good times.
|Celebrating the launch of Nicki's Last Chance Hotel with Nick Cross and Amy Butler Greenfield|
However it is easy to inadvertently find yourself back in the closet with the door firmly shut. Over the last few years, for a whole host of reasons (mostly resulting from us relocating) I found myself inching back towards the writing closet. At the same time, I experienced a drop in my confidence and creativity. So when I was writing my news years resolutions for 2018 and accidentally stumbled on my nearly identical resolutions for 2014, I decided I needed an attitude change. So I made the decision to re-prioritise my writing and get back in to the writing community.
|At Candy Gourlay's Launch of 'Is it a Mermaid' - Picture thanks to Candy.|
I started the year attending the Big Honk (part of Golden Egg), making new friends and discovering many of my older writer friends were also eggs.
|At The Big Honk with Addy Farmer and Philippa Francis|
I continued through the year attending friend’s books launches, and other writer events. And finally, for the first time since leaving my position on the SCBWI Conference committee back in 2014, I attended the SCBWI Winchester conference.
|WIth SCBWI Oxford Pal's Teri Terry and Paula Harrison - Thanks to Paula for photo.|
What I discovered by doing more of the social events and being surrounded by other writers, old friends and new ones, was that my creativity started flowing gain, and my confidence grew. Then at one social in Bath over the summer, sat around talking to half a dozen other writers I discovered that two of the other writers live within two miles of me. This was a break through as we started a new critique group, meeting monthly to critique a few chapter of each other’s WIP, and encouraging each other.
|After watching Chitra Soundar's fabulous event at The Henley Literary Festival|
After a decade of writing, I signed up to a writing course at the Oxford University Department for Further Learning, headed up by manuscript wrangler extraordinaire Nicky Browne; meeting more budding authors along with meeting in person folks I know from the Internet.
|Meeting face to face friends from the web - with Nina Oaken|
What I have discovered in my year of re-immersing myself in the writing community is that creativity is contagious, beginning surrounded by creative people really does make you more creative and productive, plus making it more FUN. All this cumulated in one great thing, for the first time in a long time I not only tinkered with editing an existing WIP but I wrote something new. I wrote it and FINISHED IT! And, with help from one of my best and closest writer friends, edited it and subbed it.
|Making new friends with K L Kettle & Annaliese Avery|
So all in all, my message is this; WRITING IS BETTER WITH FRIENDS - so if you new to writing, go out now, and find you writery buddies!