Friends and Writers

I passed a delightful day yesterday in the company of two other budding novelists.  We occupied a table in the corner of a creaky, low-ceilinged hotel bar surrounded by wedding guests and ramblers.   Only the musky reek of a rain-soaked, sweaty Labrador threatened to intercept our pleasure.

We talked about our writing experiences, read excerpts of our work in progress to one another and critiqued as best we could, given our neophyte status. From that perspective, you could argue it was a case of ‘the blind leading the blind’.  We have neither an MA in Creative Writing nor a published novel between us (yet). But we are all avid readers, so we have that experience at least to offer one another.

And we are friends, which trumps all the above.

That means that we neither smarm nor flatter one another without good reason; nor do we hold back if we have constructive observations to make. All this needs love, integrity and above all, trust, which has begun to build over the few times we’ve met up in this way over the last couple of years.  Sometimes we pick a writing exercise from a book and rattle off a couple of hundred words on the spot.  Always we chat about what’s been going on for us, how far we’ve got, what challenges we’ve overcome, what hinders progress.  Sometimes we can help each other with advice or pointers towards a book or blog.  At other times, we do as girls are wont to do – we empathise, endorse and encourage one another.

That’s the privilege of friendship, overlayed with the pleasure of the creative.  I can’t think of many better ways to pass a rainy Saturday.

8 thoughts on “Friends and Writers

  1. Have you or your friends read “A Writer’s Book of Days” by (I think) Judy Reeves. It’s full of writing exercises and tips and motivating quotes. i’m not much given to “how-to” books, but really enjoyed it and found it helpful.
    keep enjoying your writing – and more importantly – the friendship.

  2. Hi Paul, thanks for your comment, and I’m delighted you liked my post. I haven’t come across ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’ but, with a birthday on the way, it’s gone on my Amazon wish list…. I appreciate the recommendation and will share with my little group of writerly friends when we next meet. There is clearly much that can be taught, and therefore learned, about writing. But I agree with you, sometimes one has to ‘step away from the how-to manuals’ and just do it. I’m discovering the writer within me, as are my friends. We have our distinctive styles; we’re learning some rules and breaking others. And yes, we are having fun in both the writing and the friendship. Good wishes to you and congratulations on moving from ‘unpub’ to ‘pub’.

    1. Thanks for your good wishes.
      I’m always hesitant to recommend, but I don’t think you (or your friends) will be disappointed with the book. It’s written as a sort of diary, with suggestions, inspirations, advice or exercises for each day – many of which are suitable for groups.

      1. There are so many how-to books designed to enlighten, or perhaps overwhelm, the novice writer. One can’t possibly read them all, nor would one want to – recommendations help sift the wheat from the chaff and are warmly appreciated. I thank you.

  3. Beautifully put. As one of the lucky friends/writers to have enjoyed this day, can I add that it also injects reality into our imagined characters, helping them to move off the page and into the world. We might not be expert writers, but I haven’t yet received feedback from our group that hasn’t been constructive and made me think. The biggest problem is trying to gather up the pearls without dropping any!

  4. As the third of last Saturday’s trio of writers, I would also like to say how much I enjoy our sessions that you so beautifully describe above. The feedback and inspiration is invaluable: always constructive and insightful. But also important is the enthusiasm and motivation that I inevitably come away with. Writing can be an isolating business and meeting with creative friends allows some rare moments of social writing, as well as bringing our works into contact with other human beings. Not only does revealing our writing to each other make it more real, it allows us to bounce ideas around and test them on each other, sometimes forging a new path forwards. This cannot be done in isolation. But it is the friendship that has grown from our common creative purpose that it so precious. To have achieved such a level of openness and honesty in such a relatively short time is very special.

    Thanks for your reading suggestion, unpub. I will certainly look out for that one.

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