Monday, 25 April 2016

Writer Friend Benefits by Tamsyn Murray

**Before I write this blog post, I need to disclose that I've just come back from a visit to Chipping Norton Literary Festival, which was so wonderful and so stuffed full of lovely writing friends that I fear I may not be entirely impartial...**

Anyway, I wanted to write a post in celebration of writer buddies. When I first started writing properly in 2008, I had no idea how close and generous the UK writing community was. I don't suppose I really thought about it much - I was too busy trying to write something worth reading. But somehow I stumbled across other writers. Some were published, others (like me) were just starting out but they all had something in common: they were warm and kind.

Fast forward eight years (EIGHT!?!) and I am constantly being amazed by the loveliness of other writers. I met Katie Dale for the first time this month, after a couple of years of knowing each other online, and not only did she collect me from the station before my event in Cambridge but stayed with me for the duration of the signing to keep me company. We talked about how much nicer it was to have a friend there and wondered whether it was an idea for other writers to 'buddy up' for events - after all, who hasn't felt the soul-destroying loneliness of a big pile of books and no one to sign them for?

Bali Rai, Adam Guillain, Charlotte Guillain, Candy Gourlay, John Dougherty, Phoebe the blogger, SF Said
Jo Cotterill, me, Cas Lester and Milly Weaver at ChipLit Fest last Thursday. So many LOVELY writers and friends!

I also recently announced a new middle grade series with Usborne, to be published this July, and I was delighted by the number of retweets and kind mentions on Twitter. It's worth pointing out that a large number of these came from other writers. And at the end of a day, when you want to vent a little about a paragraph that won't go right, or a character who stubbornly refuses to do what you want, who better to listen to you than another writer? They get exactly what you mean.

An editor once said to me that they didn't want to ask another writer for a cover quote because they felt there was an element of competition between the titles - I was amazed at this, because it's usually been my experience that writers are keen to give a leg up to another writer. And I do wonder whether the rest of the publishing industry understands this special relationship writers have with each other: this recognition of a kindred spirit even if you've never met before. It isn't true of every single writer, of course, but it's been the case for me so far.

So before I get even more mushy, why not show a little recognition for your writer friends today? Give them a compliment, or a retweet, or even a hug? Pay it forward and support an event they're doing. With a bit of luck, they'll return the favour and we all win.

I blummin' love you lot. Yes, even you...


Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, I find the same. And especially children's writers. But I thought it was mostly here in Australia where the writing community is so very small. Glad to know it's the same over there! :-)

Susan Price said...

I echo everything you say, Tamsyn.
Joining the SAS - which I was slow to do because - is one of the best things I've ever done. The help, advice, support and just, well, friendship, I've recieved from my writer friends (and they know who they are) has been a beautiful thing.

Tamsyn Murray said...

It really is!

Tamsyn Murray said...

Wonderful to hear, Susan x

Tamsyn Murray said...

Wonderful to hear, Susan x

Stroppy Author said...

Oh, you were in Cambridge? I would have come and given extra support! You're right about all this. Writer friends have kept me going through terrible times and celebrated highs with me and I love them!