When I worked for a well-known global pharmaceutical company, there was a senior manager who kept all his knowledge to himself unless specifically asked. It was as if, because he had spent a lifetime garnering information, he thought other, younger and less experienced scientists should do the same.
I am more than happy to say that behaviour is exactly what writers do not do. And, the more friends I make in the writing world, the more I find everyone wanting to help if I have a problem and I love nothing more than trying to help others in the same way. On social media, I often come across writers who want opinions on things as diverse as covers, grammar, responses to bad reviews (don’t respond) and an incredible amount of encouragement on those writing through treacle days or when someone has slated their latest book or given the entire plot away in a review.
And the advice is not just limited to writing. Three weeks ago, I was stupid enough to douse my keyboard in nail polish remover, right at the start of my new historical crime series. I was panicking. Bigtime. Then I asked for help from my writing colleagues. I received excellent advice as to which keyboard they thought would suit me. And they were right.
The new keyboard – a Matias quiet pro for Mac – arrived just over a week ago and is so suited to my mode of typing, I have written some 18,000 words on it in 6 days. This may not seem a lot per day, but compared with when I used the Apple keyboard, it certainly is. And with a deadline of mid-November for the completion of my first draft of this new series, I need to crack on and keep the words flowing. With a sigh of relief, it looks as if Loyalty in Conflict will appear on schedule.
Authors commiserate with each other when readers complain about having to pay less than the price of a skinny latte for something over which we will have slaved – and I mean slaved – for hours, days and months. And yet, we will happily sit down and do it all again. And again. And again. Because that is what we are and what we do. We are, above all, storytellers and most of us have so many stories thrumming in our heads, we find problems trying to get them all out.
If one of us can’t find a certain piece of information, we can always find the answer in the various interest groups. Indeed, later this morning, I will ask what to many will appear to be a completely stupid question. However, it is a question that half a day trolling the Internet and my reference books hasn’t been answered – yet. I will bet good money that within a couple of hours, somebody will, doubtless with deep sighs of patience, tell me the answer.
So I will happily praise this wonderful community of writers. My friends, I salute you.
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