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I met with my local writer’s group today.


We get together once a month, and hang out for the afternoon, drinking tea / coffee, and making each other laugh. Sure, we’re serious too. We swap ideas for marketing, and discuss what trends are working in the book world at the moment, as well as the pro’s and con’s of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, but we also have fun. And it struck me, that writers need other writers.

There are some conversations that only writers ‘get’. Today we talked about the four forbidden ‘C’ words in romantic fiction (you can figure them out for yourself), and the perils of de-sexing a scene to make it suitable for a different audience. Who else would understand the frustration of formatting a document for uploading to Amazon and then realising the chapter headings are in the wrong font? Or the agony of sending a manuscript to a group of beta readers and waiting for their response? Or spending weeks creating a gorgeous cover for your new release only to find someone else launches a few days earlier with the exact same model?


When newbie writers ask me for advice (this always makes me want to laugh by the way – you’re asking me?!?) I suggest they join a writers group.


I remember my first meeting. I was nervous, like the only new kid at school, and had the constant fear they’d somehow test me and find me lacking. Begone, they’d say. You’re not a writer! But they didn’t. They welcomed me with open arms, and answered my dumb questions, and encouraged me. I stayed, and I’ve been a member of this group for around six years, and I’ve made some great friends along the way.


The thing about writing, is that it’s a solitary exercise. You can talk about it forever, plot in groups, and even co-write with someone else, but the action of putting the words on the page is down to you, and you alone. That’s why it’s so good to lift my head once a month and get my ass down to whoever’s house we’re meeting in.


So, thank you, my fellow Romance Writers of New Zealand. You’re a fabulous bunch, and I feel privileged to be a part of the group.