Sunday, October 05, 2008

Real-life conversations.

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.

10 comments:

artandmylife said...

I so agree. the internet keeps me going but those real life chats are priceless

surfergirl said...

Hey, there are some 'real life' writers who'd love to be your friends in Christchurch, they might just be a little overawed by your 'publishednessis" (if you know what I mean)...you know where to find us. Not that I'm talking about anyone in particular!

Helen Rickerby said...

I totally agree. I've found blogging has, surprisingly, been wonderful for building a sense of community for me - not just an online one, but a 'real' one. But the spark, quickness and energy of real life conversations can't quite be replicated online. I guess a blog post can be good to help you figure out something by having to analyse it while you write it, but in a conversation you have help - you can figure things out together.

whitihereaka said...

Ha! I'm not the only one who forgets what I've said in real life and what I've said in this strange second life.

I'm all for sitting around talking about writing (I think I'm addicted to writing groups/workshops... maybe I should join a group for it!) but every now and then I think to myself "Why don't I just write instead of talking endlessly about writing?". Then I sign up for another workshop...

I value what other writers have to say about my work and it is way easier to pitch an idea to a bunch of people you know rather than a theatre full of (ticket buying) strangers.

LiteraryMinded said...

I started blogging because I was in a small town and disconnected from the writing community - then I moved to Melbourne and could suddenly talk to people about literature. Amazing! But I still find my online connections and conversations an essential part of the writing/literary life. So many different voices - and from different countries, backgrounds, etc.
Angela

Gondal-girl said...

was about to kill my blog - thinking I could use that time for the powers of getting on with it - but then I read your post and my blog has a reprieve....reminding me why the blog is such a writers telegraph wire

Rachael King said...

Thanks for all your comments - good to know people feel the same way I do. Gondal-girl - don't kill the blog! Take a break if you have to - post a 'gone fishing sign' - but I for one enjoy your blog and you being part of our little community!

Mark Hubbard said...

I read a lot of writers blogs, such as this, and participate in Zoetrope, as that is my only recourse to 'fellow' writers. There are none in my face to face life, and ... I don't truly know if I would want them. But that could just be the hermit talking.

I've been away a couple of weeks, and managed to completely nut out my plot (first novel). It seems I've decided to write such a parochial novel that only I, my wife and my mother will understand it. So, I'll have a readership of two (if I include pictures of Massey Harris tractors, then I could claim three with my father.) Which brings to mind the 'men and books' thread somewhere.

The depressing part is, I don't know when I will have time to write it. (Or the nerve - as you say, in my head it's perfect, right up until I begin the actual job, no doubt, of writing, which will be inviting ruination). Anyway, there's work, and there's electioneering. :) Pity I look like a crim, but never mind.

Is it worse, Rachael, writing your second novel (compared to your first)? After all you've set a high standard, do you feel you have to beat it? Or does it not operate like that at all?

Mary McCallum said...

Interesting Rachael - I don't talk 'novels' with anyone consistently although I do talk 'writing' with writer friends when we meet up adn we sometimes get to novels. The hard yards of novels - the structure, the editing, the bit by bit slog - I don't regularly discuss with anyone. Hence the blog-watching. I really value novelists' blogs most especially your blog, Gondal Girl's, Emma Darwin's, Vanda's - all people who write novels and are generous enough to share the process. So thanks. And don't stop GG!

loudsolitude said...

I'm new to your space, and just wanted to echo everybody's thanks and encouragement. Looking forward to coming back here for more!