I've been lucky enough to teach at the major writing schools this year - Swanwick, Fishguard and Winchester - and I've noticed something fascinating...
... the power of a group of writers is considerably greater than the sum of its parts (isn't the the term Gestalt?)
Get a whole bunch of writers together, and how the creativity and ideas flow - much more readily than when you're doing the sitting on your own, gazing into space, fretting that the muse won't come calling. (And how we all know that feeling.)
So, I was wondering why that might be. And here I'll use a few examples at the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School, which I've just returned from.
This is the end of the week, the party on the lawn, and just look at the faces - such joy. Anything that brings writers together to share the love lifts us up, which just has to help.
There's an extraordinary sense of togetherness too, with no one allowed to be be left out. A fancy dress party was on the night I arrived. I wasn't prepared, but was still adorned with something of a costume..
(I call this Selfie with Urinal, fine art at its highest.)
Everyone seems to support each other at these gatherings, which helps so much in what can be a lonely business, and summons many a visit from our beautiful friend inspiration.
Then there's the official learning bit - this was my group from the course about what the media are interested in from writers -
(Thanks to all who came to my classes, and evening talk - you made it so easy with your warmth and kindness that it felt like a group of friends sitting around a table in a bar, having a chat, nothing more taxing than that.)
I saw so many people in excited huddles, sharing thoughts and insights from the industry, their delight at new ideas and discoveries, feeding off each other and riding the waves of writing energy.
What a privilege to be a part of. I've always counted myself a very fortunate chap to be a small player on the great stage of writing, and that feeling has only grown and grown with each new experience.