Three Reasons Why Writers Need Other Writers

Posted on 21st July, 2017

For a long time, I was a solitary writer. I put this down to a mixture of two things. Firstly, I am an introvert by nature; and secondly, I was a child writer. A couple of school friends had a go at writing because of me, but they didn't stick with it for long, so I grew up thinking of writing as being something you did on your own.

 

But I have learned that writers need other writers, and here are three resons why:

 

 

Writers are interested in writers

 

For years, I was happy writing on my own. Then, at a very difficult time (let's just say I found myself unexpectedly single), I saw an ad for a writing holiday by the sea in Cornwall and I signed up for it. It was the first time I had ever had the chance to talk about writing with people who understood. The fact is that it doesn't matter how interested or sympathetic your non-writing friends are: they don't truly understand because they've never done it.

 

Writers are always interested in other writers - in their work, their careers and their experiences. Writers will always share what they know and provide encouragement and support. It is a wonderful profession in that respect.

 

 

Networking works

 

I used to be sceptical about this. To me, it was one of those annoying management-speak terms and therefore not to be taken seriously. But I am a convert.

 

Meeting other writers both online and in the real world creates friendships and support networks and can lead to new opportunities.

 

 

It's fun!

 

This time last week, I was at the RNA Conference in Shropshire, meeting up with existing friends (hi, Kirsten, Jan, Sue, Jackie and Kate; sorry you couldn't be there, Julie) and making new friends (hi, Jane, Cass, Kitty, Alison, Maggie and Christy). I also finally met in the real world two writers I have known for yonks online - Heidi Swain and Wendy Clarke.

 

The RNA kitchens are the place to be. There is laughter and gossip and maybe even the odd drink or two. Our kitchen was better than all the others because we had palm-reading. Yes, really. Thanks, everyone who made the Conference such fun, especially my lovely friend Kirsten, who always makes me laugh.

 

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If you are a solitary writer, have I convinced you that it's time to come out of your cave and meet some like-minded people?

 

 

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Comments (20)

Hi, Wendy. It was lovely to meet you too at last. Yes, even those of us who are basically introverted need company, and for writers, the company of other writers is such a joy, as well as being downright useful and supportive. We must spend more time together next year in Leeds. Thanks for commenting.
I absolutely agree with everything you've said, Susanna. Meeting other writers is important for a variety of reasons - our sanity being one of them! Humans are basically sociable creatures (although some more than others) and it's not natural to spend so much time on our own. It was great to meet you and hope we meet up again in Leeds.
Thanks, Jen, for your kind words. Judging by the comments on the blog, I think there must be many former-solitary writers out there, who now realise what a marvellous support network is available to them.

Congratulations on the publication tomorrow of Summer On Firefly Lake. I loved the first in your Firefly Lake series and I've been looking forward to reading Mia's story in the new book.
I was once a solitary and secret writer too but now don't know what I'd do without my supportive network of writing friends. I'm so glad that network includes you, Susanna. Thank you for a warm and encouraging post that is sure to encourage many still solitary writers out there. xx
Hi, Julie. I'm like you - I'm happy to be on my own most of the time, but it's wonderful to meet up with writing friends. We have so much in common. Even meeting a fellow writer for the first time is easy and enjoyable, because there's so much to talk about. I'm so glad to hear you're coming to Leeds next year.
Hi Sue,
This is a lovely post and very true for me too. I don't mind being on my own writing most of the time but I so enjoy getting together with writing friends. I have been incredibly lucky, I feel, to make so many new friends as a result of my writing over the past few years, and it was writing that brought us all together. I only realised how important the conference get-togethers are to me when I couldn't go this year - I really missed you all despite having a lovely weekend doing other things. I definitely want to go to Leeds next year!
Glad you enjoyed the post, Jackie. Yes, last weekend was great. Hope you'll be at Leeds next year too.
Kate, I know what you mean about being a secret writer. Although one or two of my friends knew I was a writer, mostly my writing was something I never talked about to others. Meeting other writers for the first time was a revelation. Actually being able to have conversations about characters and plots!! As you say, they were 'my' people. I am grateful for now having a growing number of 'my' people - including you. xx
Absolutely - agree 100%. Great time last weekend.
Funnily enough, I've just completed a Q&A for an upcoming blog post, and I made almost exactly the same point. I was a secret writer for many years, and hadn't ever met another writer until I attended the Festival of Romance in 2013. I was totally out of my depth - everyone seemed to have at least two names, and business cards, and generally knew what they were doing - but I'll never forget that moment of realising that I had met 'my' people - the ones who understood what it was like to have another world constantly running through your head. Writer friends make success sweeter and take the sting out of disappointments. I'm incredibly grateful for all mine, including you, Sue. x
Julie, I am envious of your three conferences. Lucky you! I think you have used exactly the right word when you say you felt 'energised.' It does us all good to go to writers' events. We learn a lot and the social side is terrific. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Hi, Kirsten. Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, writers are hugely supportive of one another and always willing to share experiences and provide encouragement. There can't be many professions where people at the top have so much time and respect for those just starting out.
I agree 100% - no one else understands except for another writer. I always feel energised when I go to writing conferences. I've been to three in the last year: the amazing Festival of Writing (Writers Workshop) at York, How to Get Published (Writers & Artists) also at York, and Newcastle Writing Conference (New Writing North) at Northumbria University.

All were inspiring, hearing authors like Jo Cannon, Natasha Pulley, Emma Flint, Louise Doughty and Rachel Abbott. They've all had their struggles and disappointments but won through in the end, and that helps us keep the faith. But the real benefit is that feeling of friendship from the community of writers. It's fabulous.

I've also experienced a retreat - that's where I met Kirsten - and it was absolutely brilliant. We all laughed till we cried playing 'fortunately, unfortunately' and the input into each others' WIPs was incredibly helpful. I'm eager to find more, but so many seem to be at the other end of the country for me. Well, back to my self editing, otherwise this novel won't be ready for York FOW this September...
Firstly, thank you for your lovely comment Sue xx We did have a giggle, didn't we?!

I think I've always been a fairly sociable writer in that I discovered Twitter at more or less the same time that I started writing and embraced both with gusto!!

Like others had said, writers really are the most friendly and supportive bunch and - writing from the perspective of the aspiring writer - I think they are particularly good at giving encouragement and impetus at the times when it all just seems too hard and dispiriting.

Lovely post xx
Jan, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I never used to mind being a solitary writer, but once I discovered the friendship and support and sheer enjoyment that is available to writers who hook up with other writers, it became a necessary and deeply appreciated part of my writing life. Thank you, as always, for your support online.
Cass, how lovely to hear from you. It is undoubtedly a daunting experience to go to your first Conference - such a huge event, and everyone already seems to know everyone else. But oh, the joy of going to your second one, knowing that friends will be there!

I hope you enjoy your writing retreat in Cornwall. Retreats are marvellous because there is so much built-in writing time and you can make significant progress, but I'm glad you can see the value of the social side of it. The company of other writers gives me personally a real boost. The fact that we are writers means we start off with something important in common, so we are never short of something to talk about; and from that friendships can grow.

I hope to meet up with you again at the RNA Conference in Leeds next summer xx.
Without fellow writers' support and friendship, being a writer would indeed be very lonely, Sue. I'm always impressed how generous others are with advice and generally taking an interest in what other authors are doing. As you know, I'm grateful for your on-line support and it was so good to catch up again this year. I, too, loved making more new writing friends. We did have a laugh, didn't we?
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this, Susanna!

I am not just a solitary writer, but I've discovered I'm also a lonely writer. I struggled a little with my first writers' conference for lots of small reasons, but this realisation helps me to understand why.

The greatest thing I took away from it was how thankful I was to have met such a lovely group of supportive people. Yes, the chats about writing were fab, but the birth of new friendships was the best thing of all. ❤️

I'd already signed up for a writing retreat in Cornwall in November, but I'd been anticipating it from the retreat perspective (ie recluse), but now I have realised meeting my fellow writers will be the best!
It makes such a difference, doesn't it, Catherine? Before I got involved with other writers, I had no idea what I was missing. Lucky you, having a weekly group to go to.
I was a solitary writer but like you I am a convert. Twitter, creative writing courses and now a weekly writing group all make the writing process more fun.