Sunday, 29 July 2007


Writing is something you do on your own. Even if you are capable of working in crowded, noisy places, it is because you have the capacity to shut that out and move inside your head. It is all too easy to feel isolated and if you do not have contact with other writers (or those sympathetic to what you do), it can be a very large part of your life that you never get to share.

Some people cope with this, and it certainly helps if your endeavours have been validated through publication. Many, however, need contact with other writers. This is not necessarily so they can spend evenings discussing the merits or otherwise of adverbs over a glass or six of wine. It is simply so they can share a bit of time with people they know are going through the same problems as themselves - people who understand what it is like to have a whole chapter in your head that you cannot get written down; who know how it feels to read and re-read a piece of work you know could be improved without being able to see how to do it; who know the agonies of preparing submissions, waiting weeks (and sometimes months) before a response arrives, and getting miserable when it is yet another rejection.

In fact, when I communicate with other writers it is, often as not, a chance to let off steam in all sorts of ways. Moaning about publishers is the least of it (although there is always plenty there to get vexed about). It is usually about families, health, gardens, sheds, the general stupidities of the world, penguins (don't ask - you would be very disappointed if you discovered what present and future scions of the literary world get up to when they can't be arsed to do any writing), chocolate, and ends with people trying to out-pun each other.

I find this incredibly refreshing (I never said I was normal); and I find it extremely supportive. And this is the point of this little ramble. I am blessed with a group of friends (writers and artists) who are by turns boisterous (sometimes even rowdy), sympathetic, supportive, frighteningly intelligent, and always there when you need them.

To you, my friends, I raise a glass. May agents and publishers beat a path to your door.


Papoosue said...

Yup, friendship is important and I couldn't have put it better myself - not sure about those penquins though...

PS I'm getting prepared;

Viki Lane said...

A good point, well made. Other writers really are the best people in the world.
Now, where's my penguin....