Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Writing support network

On Saturday morning we had our writers' meeting, an invaluable time that is set aside each week for us to comment on each other's work. It’s uplifting to be with such stimulating company, and I find myself soothed and encouraged (whichever’s necessary) at the end of it. As writers, being solitary by nature at work, friends are so important – particularly those that understand the writing conundrum.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses - mine, good dialogue, lousy descriptions. I write fast prose, as I live my life - at top speed. Nancy writes the sort of descriptions that make you want to weep, they are so apt and picturesque, and she lives life at a much more sensible speed. She is wise and understanding, with a wonderful sense of humour. When we first met, and I explained that I couldn’t drink caffeine (I’m hyper enough without it), she looked at me and smiled. ‘I thought you were rather finely tuned,’ she said.

She is forever urging me to slow down (in writing as in life) and has nicknamed me Slasher Flowerpot – if a certain sentence or paragraph isn’t quite right, or part of it superfluous, I’m liable to slash a line right through it. ‘No, no!’ she cries. ‘Not all of it!’ So we talk it through, most of it is reinstated, and we strike a happy medium.

I've belonged to many writing groups and find that most peter out after a while: people move on, decide not to write, have other demands on their time. That doesn't matter; it's part of life. But writing friends are a different breed. We are all born with a strange gene that compels us to spend most of our days staring at a computer screen, tearing our hear out, being constantly rejected and trying to salvage what's left of our confidence. Not a job that you'd wish for your children. But I am eternally grateful for my writing friends, past and present.

What would I do without my support network?

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