I went to Wellington last week and came to this realisation: the reason I have been so prolific on this blog since moving to Christchurch is that I don't have any writer friends down here. You may have noticed that I haven't posted for more than a week, and that even that post was hardly a deeply thought-out essay on the pleasures and agonies of writing a novel.
It's because I met up, separately, with two of my writer friends in Wellington and we talked about writing. How I miss those conversations! They are so vital, so important in the life of trying to write a novel, or simply leading 'the writing life'. I'm sure some people would disagree, that they need solitude above all else; well, this is true when you are doing the actual writing, but when you're not, it is so great to have others to discuss things with. It doesn't even need to be the work itself that is being discussed, although this can help too. I have a Wellington writing group that is wonderful for critiquing, egging each other on, and even just sitting around for a wine (and a whine) and a gossip. But then it's great to have a quick fix, where you meet one person for coffee and you don't pull each other's work to pieces but just talk about how things are going. Sometimes it can be intimidating, when one's own work is going badly and your friend is so focused you can see lasers coming out of her eyes. But mostly it is just plain inspiring and can give you the boost you need. Writers can offer each other advice when they hit a wall, or even just a sympathetic ear.
So that is why I blog - to try and recreate the feeling I get from those cosy chats in cafes with my writer friends, and which is why I love it when people leave comments and it becomes a discussion. The downside of keeping a blog about writing is when you do have a real-life conversation and your friend says "I know, I read it on your blog", and you can no longer remember what you've written and what you haven't and whether you are boring the person who is too polite to tell you they've heard it all before.
But as far as not having posted for a while, I blame my trip to Wellington. I am sated. For now.