Saturday 19 January 2013

Writers need support

Surrounded by amazing supportive friends
Last week at the launch of The Golden Egg Academy we spoke about the importance of support for writers. Writing is not easy and you spend an awful lot of time on your own so having others to talk to about it is invaluable. This week has been a tough one for me what with starting teaching again, trying to write a whole ream of new modules and prepare a revalidation document AND write a book proposal was leaving me feeling totally exhausted and fairly deflated. But then the wonderful Candy Gourlay set up the 7 meme on Facebook. She told us we had to go to the seventh  or seventy seventh page of our current work in progress, go seven lines down and post the next seven lines.

Firstly, it was wonderful to see brief and tantalizing snippets from so many people. But then it was the comments I got on my few lines by friends who I respect and admire - they were so enthusiastic - all wanting more. The way Trafficking is set out it wasn't feasible for me to use that so I used my new work in progress which currently only has two chapters written - Persephone's Pegasus - so it is very raw and I don't often share this early on. But it reminded me of how good it felt to have feedback on your work. It gave me a new impetus and thanks to a snow day the uni was closed and I was able to do a bit of my own writing when I had finished what I needed to. It felt good. I realised how much I miss writing when I can't get to it. It makes me feel whole again and lifted my spirit enormously.

I have watched a good friend, who has been through a difficult year which has impacted on her time and ability to write, find her writing mojo again and the work she is producing is outstanding.  It is something that I have come to accept, if you are a writer you have to write to feel well and good about the world. Matt Haig spoke about his battle with depression and how writing helped him in a post he did for the Book Trust. It was powerful and humbling piece to read.

Never underestimate the importance of support when you are writing. It can come in all sorts of forms. I know some will disagree but Facebook and Twitter can be a great support. I have made some fantastic friendships through Facebook and keep in contact with many, many writers from all over the world. I had the joy of a fascinating conversation about metafiction in children's literature with the inimitable Philip Ardargh earlier this week. It wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Facebook. Critique groups are another great source of support whether face to face or online. And of course there are groups like the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators who provide support too. (Also look at the Golden Egg website to see what support you can get there) Just remember to keep writing and keep talking about it. And if you have friends who write remember they need support too.

As all writers love cake and I am midlife (sort of) here's My Friend the Chocolate Cake with A Midlife's Tale


  1. Replies
    1. xxxxxxxxxxxx And you are definitely one of those amazing supportive friends xxxxxxx

  2. Thanks for the Matt Haig link, I hadn't seen that. For creative people - who seem uncommonly troubled by mental illness - the act of creativity appears to be intricately bound into their recovery. But I'm not sure it was writing that lifted me out of depression, so much that I knew I was getting better when the act of writing became possible.

    It goes without saying that I had some very good friends to help me through that period. Every writer needs their support network, and the wider the better!

    1. I agree Nick I couldn't have got through many a thing without the support of friends like yourself

  3. I am deeply grateful for my SCBWI friends - whether I see them in real life - or on-line. It's one of the reasons I made a commitment to writing for younger readers.I am quite a volatile, fragile person and I know I need the support of my fellow writers & artists.Thanks, all of you.

  4. Ah this support network is part of the writing life that we've chosen to live, with all its ups and downs ... don't you feel lucky we're in it together?

    I was originally tagged by Kimberley Pauley on The Seven Meme ... I don't usually like to do memes but I was genuinely curious to see what my friends were going to put up ... and it was exciting to see all the snippets on Facebook. Such good stories waiting to be unleashed.