Yesterday I had a lovely long Skype chat with one of my best writer friends, Adam Parks. We met in my last year of university, when I was already about 20,000 words in to Oathbreaker’s Shadow, but was hitting a lull. We used to meet at Starbucks Yonge and Bloor between classes or after work, and sit for hours with our laptops typing up our respective novels. In between these epic typing sessions, we used to fight (a lot) about books, writing, fantasy tropes and creative ideals — the day he told me that he had never enjoyed a fantasy novel written by a woman I almost stormed out — but those debates and deep conversations fueled my desire and engaged my brain in a way that even university wasn’t doing. Adam used to use his charm to get free Americano refills from the girls behind the counter, so it worked out all around.
I think every writer needs writer friends, in real life as well as online. Adam – philosopher, psychologist, and all around creative-soul that he is – pulled my writing out of mediocrity and made me think about the layers that get produced in your writing that you don’t even realize. How that scene I wrote about my MC quietly preparing himself for his big fight is a literary device that stretches back to Greek and Roman literature. How the desert takes on a meaning so much bigger than itself. How I really should remove some of that telling, and insert more of that showing.
Sometimes, I think there’s something vaguely queasy about labelling yourself as an ‘artist’ or to see your writing as ‘art’. There’s so much more to writing now – to the business of writing – that it’s easy to completely dismiss that other side of the coin. That’s why I’m thankful for having writer friends like Adam, who allow me to get lost in and share the creative side of what I’m doing, and not laugh at me about it. And even though now we live on different sides of the globe and only get to chat occasionally via Gchat or Skype, I know that he will always be there for me to pick his brain — and vice versa!
Do you have anyone who helps you through your creative process? And did you meet them online or in person?