|Tobey Forney, Mimi Vance, Chris Cander, me, Penny Linsenmayer and Andrea White|
I am so lucky to be part of a writers' critique group with five fantastic and inspiring women writers.
My great author friend, Andrea White, suggested a couple of years ago that I might like to meet another friend of hers, Chris Cander. "Chris has one book out already and another heading towards publication," said Andrea, "and I know you'll get on." .
Talk about an understatement! We could have talked for hours, and by the time we met for the second time we were up to five writers, with a sixth added soon after. And although at first we did swap manuscripts around and comment on each other's work, it became apparent that we are all so swamped with our own work, as well as family life etc, that this wasn't really working for us all. So we decided instead to meet for lunch every couple of months to share our stories, our ideas, our hopes and our panics. I now wonder how I ever wrote anything without them.
When we meet, we go round the table to catch up on what everyone is working on - writing, researching, selling or promoting. It is wonderful to have friends who are proud to be your cheerleading team, who love to celebrate the triumphs and talk through the disappointments. We build each other up so we will be better able withstand the next stomach-lurching loop of the roller-coaster career we have chosen for ourselves, and we cheer the loudest when one of us succeeds. We all write such different things, but we all share the joy of telling stories and reaching new people.
Over the next few months, I would love to introduce you to my critique group friends one by one, but today I wanted simply to share a photo, taken at our lunch today, showing six women writers, some published, some almost-but-not-quite-published, looking happy, relaxed and, if you look deep in their eyes, inspired by each other.
Andrea White, Chris Cander, Tobey Forney, Penny Linsenmayer and Mimi Vance - thank you, thank you, thank you.
And to you, dear reader, if you also like to write (even if you don't yet have the bottle to call yourself a writer - yes, we've all been there), go find yourself a critique group (or one friend who has a friend, who has a friend, etc., so you can form your own group), and even if you never critique each other's work, it's a great excuse for some lunch and some laughs.