Being a writer is a pretty lonely profession. My computer and I are on very intimate terms, and I tend to do my best work when my head hits the pillow at night. While my husband is a writer too, he sticks mainly to screenplays and stage plays, and doesn't have a particularly ravenous appetite for novels. Most of the people I talk to on a daily basis are other moms, and while eight-hundred children attend my daughter's school, I haven't found any other parents there that are writers. But while I consider myself a fairly inverted and reticent person, I've found that lately I'm craving a little company in my professional daydreams. Sometimes bad things happen to good writers, like blocks and personal things getting in the way of inspiration. Sometimes all a writer needs is another writer.
Since joining the Champagne family I've been handed a cornucopia of supportive and creative friends that never tire in their enthusiasm. I know if I need advice or a pick-me-up there's always someone just an email away. While I value that immensely, it's still frustrating when we're scattered across the globe and can't meet for coffee once a week to talk about writing or exchange it. There's really no substitute for a face-to-face meeting between writers. When you start talking about your favorite books and authors, and how much semi-colons and colons mean to you, it can spark creative energy in a way nothing else can.
I have a writer friend with whom I'm lucky enough to meet on a fairly regular basis, and I can now attest to the importance of having writer friends in one's life. We give each other feedback, we commiserate over writer's block, we moan the decline of print while acknowledging the logic of ebooks, and, most importantly, we talk about the books we love, and leave our meetings filled with fire to get back to our own projects. And there's really nothing in the world like having someone whose opinion you strongly respect tell you that you're the real thing, that you've got talent, that something you wrote inspired them to read your words out loud as if they were on stage because it wasn't enough to simply read them silently. If there's a writing book or chatroom that can beat that, I haven't found it.
It's taken me a long time to connect with writing friends in person. I'm shy and don't handle criticism very well, and so I've been reluctant to open myself up that way. But writing buddies serve a much more important purpose than just critique. They can throw you a lifeline sometimes when you need it most.
Ashley J. Barnard
Dark Fantasy with a Contemporary Twist