I need my five foul weather friends to steer me through the stormy seas of a writing life.
1. Feed back Friends. These are a special breed. They read and listen to your work and give you their thoughts and impressions. They don’t try and rewrite your work or take on your story. They are sensitive to the stage you are at in the process and give you space to nurture an idea but also help you to clearly see what is working and what is not. You return the favour and listen to their work. They celebrate your success. You celebrate theirs but also give you space to have a jealous - ‘it should have been me’ moment.
2. Every writer should have a Grammar Puss. Someone who can explain to you about what a lacuna is or who cares deeply about the correct use of the apostrophe. They can tell you the grammatical reason why a sentence isn’t working or why a paragraph doesn’t make sense.
3. The Factoid is the friend you can text late at night and ask such things as, ‘What year did David Bowie sing Starman on Top of the Pops? Or ‘Who was the prime minister in 1911?’ They are also great to have on your team in a pub quiz.
4. A Full Fridge Friend is the one who understands when your head has spent too long in the land of dreamy dreams to either shop or construct anything resembling a meal. They put food in front of you and accept the silent chomping and wild eyed staring.
5. Then there is that mysterious Imaginary Friend. The friend who has been with me since childhood weaving stories, creating worlds, providing escape in difficult times, asking questions of me and enriching my existence.