Nicola Burggraf has written a lovely piece on her blog today about how a recent get-together with two friends has inspired her to pick up her (almost finished!) novel again and it got me thinking about how friends’ attitudes and comments can help or hinder us, as writers.
As many of you know, Sally Jenkins is my writing buddy and we meet up once a quarter to talk through our writing ‘hits and misses’ and goals for the coming few months.
It’s not quite as serious or structured as it sounds, by the way (in case you were imagining power suits and flipcharts), it’s more of a ‘chat about writing over a cuppa’ but we do try to encourage each other and it helps to talk through our plans for our writing, because let’s face it, if your writing buddy’s not interested, who will be?!
We met up last Saturday and reflected on 2015. It was great that we both have cause to celebrate this year: among other things, (eg: she’s revamped her website and successfully completed her PTTLS course), Sally’s published her first novel and of course, I’ve had my success with The People’s Friend serial.
Yesterday I met up with some of my former students and the first thing they asked me was ‘How’s the novel? Have you finished it yet?’ (as that, apparently, was the reason I stopped teaching them – so I could ‘write my novel’! Erm, actually that’s not quite true, I stopped teaching my class at the end of the summer term because I wanted more time for my writing, in general!).
I honestly don’t think I’d have managed 16000 words for The People’s Friend serial if I had still been teaching. But it was a relief, to be honest, to be able to tell them my good news. I suppose I felt the need to justify my ‘time off’ as a teacher! And sometimes I do get a bit ‘defensive’ about my writing output – or lack of it! Am I the only one?!
When I told my dad about my PF serial win he was pleased. He used to call my writing ‘stories about Auntie Betty’ (I know, you have to laugh), so he clearly sees this as a ‘step up’. But I know he also thinks, ‘it’s still not the BBC…’.