I had a treat last Friday. I went to my local RNA chapter meeting.
It's been a while since I've been, and it was exciting to see the many new faces among the familiar, and have a sense of so many established, just beginning and up and coming writers assembled in one place.
In the beginning there were just four or so of us, meeting in each other's houses, sharing a pot luck lunch. Last Friday there were thirteen of us who could make the date.
We run the gamut of romantic (and non-romantic, come to think of it) genres and every form and format of publishing. We're in libraries and magazines, stores from Asda to Waterstones. Published and unpublished, we all have manuscripts under the bed, stories unfinished, and hopes for the future. We come from all over Northumberland and Newcastle, with a couple of interlopers like myself, out on my little limb in north-west Cumbria.
Although I'm the official 'contact' for the group, work commitments and sheer distance (and diesel prices!) keep me from going as often as I'd like. They say writing is a solitary profession, and they're right - you only have to look at the way writers gravitate to e-loops, message boards, and social networking sites to get together with other writers and combat that solitary state.
Once in a while, though, the desire to connect transcends the world wide web. We need to get together, discuss our latest projects, fickle reviewers, unaccountable rejections and impossible revisions. We need to look each other in the eye, laugh, groan, sympathise, cheer... and remind ourselves we're not mad.
Or at least, that we're only as mad as other writers.
Do you get to meet with other writers in the flesh? Where, how, and what do you talk about?
Pop back on Thursday to see what's on Christina's mind...