Finding Your People
Updated: Jul 27
Writing. It’s a pretty isolating thing to do, right? You hole yourself up and block out the world, and then emerge days later, blinking in the sunlight and wondering what the hell happened while you were out cold. Unless you’re very lucky indeed, you probably don’t naturally have an abundance of writers in your life… unless you seek them out. And my god, it's fantastic when you do. When you have writer friends, you will talk about little else for hours on end and it’s fine. It’s great, in fact. They get it.
But how do you meet them? I met my first group of writing friends through workshops. In my little corner of the world, there is a beautiful historical house and gardens called Delapré Abbey (they also have a second hand book shop with an honesty box!). They often hold events, and one particular week last spring, they organised a festival of writing. A festival of writing, right near my home! I attended two sessions with successful authors Menna Van Praag and Sue Bentley. Not only did I get to soak up the wisdom of these wonderful ladies, but I met some brilliant writers, who I have remained friends with. Occasionally we meet for lunch or a coffee, and talk about our writing. We email, and share our writing amongst ourselves. We encourage each other to keep writing. It’s just lovely to know they are there, and they understand.
As you may have read from my most recent blog post, I recently attended my first writing festival. A crime writing festival, to be more specific. I was blown away by the amount of fantastic people I met and plan to stay in touch with. If a writing festival is within your reach, I would encourage you to reach out and grab it with both hands. Introverted like me? Just make one extroverted friend and they will bring the interesting people to you. Or, you know, pretend to be an extrovert (like I need to learn how to do). My summary of the event: Beneath all the panels, book signings and alcohol, there was an underlying sense of togetherness, of excitement and of anticipation. I met so many people, ranging from unpublished authors to international best sellers and I can't say I've ever been in a situation where strangers are so damn nice to each other (although the appropriate amount of piss-taking was duly given and received).
Where else? My latest discovery is Twitter. I have used it sporadically for years, mainly to complain to companies about bad service and to enter competitions, with little success (I won a small tent once). But my view of Twitter changed dramatically when I discovered the #WritingCommunity. Thousands of other writers, all procrastinating together, is a beautiful thing indeed. Never have I ever seen such a solid community full of encouragement, support, advice and kind words (and funny gifs).
So I conclude that writers are a pretty awesome breed of human, and you should incorporate as many of them into your life as possible.