“In a world of our own, but not on our own.”

I used to call it laptop racing. It needed (or I thought it needed) at least one other writer (so we could mind each other’s laptops), and a reliable supply of cake and coffee (hence the need for laptop-minding). 

It helped. It more than helped. It kept me moving forward with writing at a time when anxiety took up too much of my ‘what if’ circuitry for creativity to get the disc-space. 

Ten years and four books later, nothing has changed in terms of cake and coffee. Or the usefulness of seeing other writers at their laptops or notebooks. I don’t need it necessarily, but it’s still the emotional seatbelt that keeps me at the wheel when otherwise it would be much easier to stall. 

More importantly, now creativity gets more of my ‘what if’ disc-space, I know it was never about whether I ‘should’ need. It was about recognising how well it works for me, and putting the creative energy into making it happen, creating the circumstances in my life that served my intentions. Which begins with recognising how successful, enjoyable and reassuring it is – not just for me, but for my network of published and unpublished writers alike.

That’s why every Monday, from 11am to 1pm, everyone in my community is invited to drop in (or stay the full two hours) and write in a free online space. 

We unmute for ten minutes at the end of the session for a chat about life, the universe and writing, and the chat box is open throughout. 

‘Show Don’ t Tell’ is probably the loudest writing cliché out there, and it’s not just useful on the page. I show myself I’m a writer at the start of every week, simply by being there. 

What one newcomer said last month about being able to see other writers (including, with those who turn off their cameras, simply the presence of other writers):

“I’m in a world of my own but I’m not on my own.”

That felt like a very good expression of why writing (and reading) are so satisfying, and of how much more of ourselves we can give the other people and things in our lives when we are reliably refuelling ourselves with the space and time we need for our internal world. 

Drop in to the Writing Room this Monday, any time from 11am to 1pm (free every Monday).

Grab a creativity and confidence workout with Writing the Self: Memoir, Life-writing and Fictionalised Experience, Wednesday 1pm-2,30pm.

Join us for Coffee & Creativity Wednesdays, 1pm-2.30pm.

Subscribe to the Writers’ Gym podcast on Apple or any of your favourite platforms.