With a little help from my friends…

I’m a lucky gal. I’ve known it for a long time now. One of my biggest blessings is that I have great friends. Now I’m the first to admit that I have categories of friends. I have long-time childhood friends who I’ve known since I started school. Those are fun to get together with to reminisce about old times and talk about our families as they grow and change. There is nothing like a friend you’ve had for decades to understand when you have a child in trouble or an ailing parent.

I also have friends I made when I was still teaching. These friends are few and have stayed with me because we found other shared interests outside of the classroom. You may have found that to be true too. When you work with someone you might spend eight hours a day with them, eat lunch with them every day, yet have nothing in common except that place of employment. When I moved to a new school, I often never heard from a pal again. But there were a few that I did stick with. Those are the gals that I shop with, travel with and gossip on the phone with. Do we talk about school days? Hardly ever. Ancient history.

Finally, there are my writing friends. These days they seem to stick closest to me. Writing is a tough business, especially in this economic climate. With so many bookstores closing, it’s hard to get a decent contract and print runs are shrinking. It’s also hard to stay motivated to write with or without a deadline. My writing buddies understand the grind I go through to write funny, write passionately and stay on task when my life has its down moments. Through the loss of my husband then more recently the loss of my mother, it was the writing community that understood how I struggled to be creative during that period.

Yes, we are professionals but we’re human too. I have critiqued with the same two women for many years. We joke that we’re more like a support group. Amen. Not only do we read each other’s stuff but we share each other’s struggles and brainstorm when the creative well runs dry. I think I would have quit writing when it took me so long to sell my first book if I hadn’t had that tight support system in place. My writing pals are the cheerleaders behind the scenes when I’m waiting to hear what my editor thinks after I turn a book in. They pat me on the back when a reviewer doesn’t give my books love and celebrate with me when readers put me on a bestseller list.

Where would I be without my friends? I can’t imagine it. I’m one of those people who needs that human contact to thrive. Every message I get from a fan about my books seems to fill me up. I can’t get enough of those kinds of positive vibes. Writing is a solitary exercise,  just me and my computer.  Yes, my characters come alive for me. You don’t want to know how real some of those hot guys seem after a while. I have a BIG crush on Israel Caine. But fact is, at the end of the day it’s me and words on paper. So I need my friends to let me know I’m not alone.

What about you? How do you get together with your friends? We always seem to share a meal. Are your buds from work, family or school? I’d love to hear about your life. Post here.

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