Last year, when I won the Random House awards, I was nervous and excited and had spouse and offspring and so many friends and supporters at the event that I didn’t really interact with the other writers. This year, many of my friends were busy (or as my daughter said, “I’d totally go, mum, if you actually won something,”) so I had plenty of time to meet and talk with the other writers which I very much enjoyed. This is what I learned: most writers toil in isolation.
The experience has generated in me a profound sense of gratitude for my writing group. While many things about our group have changed over the years, one thing remains constant: my co-writers offer invaluable critical feedback and encouragement. I feel lifted up and inspired to do better. I learn what I do well and what I need to improve. For all this, I am grateful.