Being a writer is a pretty solitary activity. For the most part, it’s just you and the voices in your head. In a good way. You’re imagining, you’re typing, editing, blogging, using social media…but none of this would make any sense without other people.
I like being solitary. I like sitting with my laptop and tapping away, or sitting with a notebook in a coffee shop with nothing but the worlds I create. But…that gets a little lonely after a while.
There are so many wonderful communities for writers to interact with, mainly bloggers, reviewers and readers. But I always wonder about how writers view the writing community.
I’ve had varied thoughts about the writing community and it changes depending on who I meet and where I meet them. I’ve always wanted to be around writers. When I went to university and started my creative writing degree, I was overjoyed to be surrounded by people who loved doing what I loved doing! Here were people who *got* what it felt like to make stories, about how choosing certain words was important. But… sometimes, a bunch of writers hanging out (especially in a workshop scenario) can be pretty brutal.
I remember my last year of university, there was a girl who was intent on tearing everyone’s work to shreds. I don’t know whether it was to prove she had a decent ‘critical eye’ or whether it just made her feel better. But writers have egos, and putting a bunch of people all holding their stories out before them, like these breathing little birds, waiting to get shot down or fly high; it can be dangerous.
Since then I’ve worked with writers, and been best friends with them, but it’s always the ones that I can actually talk about other stuff with that works out the best.
I was lucky enough to meet up with some very lovely authors from my publisher, Carina. They are all supremely talented writers, and more than that, lovely people. And that’s when I realised that the writing community is absolutely necessary. Meeting up with others who know about that stress before a deadline, or the obsessive copy editing. Being in wonderment and bewilderment and not believing your luck all at once.
Writers can be one of the most supportive groups of people, because you’re all striving for the same thing. And in many ways, we’re all sort of social outcasts. Wanting to prioritise time on your book in many ways is seen as a selfish desire to focus on yourself. And being around other writers reminds you that it’s work, plain and simple.
I wish I’d taken a photo of us all, but a big thank you to Annie, Jill and Paul, it was wonderful to meet you in the real world!