Category Archives: Creative Community

Inspiration Monday: Friends

You see familiar things differently with a friend - I'd never noticed how beautiful the light on these arches in Norwich Cathedral before I saw them with my friend Helen.

You see familiar things differently with a friend – I’d never noticed how beautiful the light on these arches in Norwich Cathedral was before I saw them with my friend Helen.

I’ve had such a wonderful few days, full of laughter and fascinating conversation.  I feel so grateful for the people I have in my life, people who stimulate and support me.

On Thursday, old friends arrived on a flying visit from Queensland, Australia.  We hadn’t seen them in several years, as you can imagine, but as soon as they walked through the door, it was like they had never left.  We introduced them to ‘Cards Against Humanity’.  This probably makes us very bad people, but we had a hilarious evening as a result.

On Saturday, I met up with a dear writing friend.  We had a delicious summer lunch on her verandah, overlooking the river, sitting in the sunshine with fresh flowers on a crisp little table cloth, talking about life and writing.

On Sunday, we met up with one of my Sherlock fandom friends and her husband, over from the US for a holiday.  They were kind enough to trek up here to Norfolk to see us, and we had a wonderful day, walking around the sights of Norwich, and talking about whisky, history and writing.  And laughing.  A lot.

Old friends, and new friends.  I feel so lucky to have them, and so inspired by them.  Each one has a fascinating story to tell, life experiences that fill me with awe and admiration.  Each one sparkles with wit and intelligence, and a deep, compassionate love for their fellow beings.

Of course, I am now knackered!  But in a good way.  I have laughed myself hoarse for days running, and thats better therapy than anything the NHS can offer.  I have enjoyed sunshine and fresh air, and my brain has been stimulated so much.

And I am inspired.  Talking with my creative friends has made me feel so excited about my novel.  I’m ready to go.  The world has opened up again. Its full of possibility.

When you are deep in a creative project, or struggling through a creative drought, it is easy to neglect your friends.  You may feel you don’t have time to hang out with them.  In actual fact, the reverse is true.  It is imperative to see your friends, and not just for their cheer-leading capacities.

Conversation spikes your interest in whole new areas.  You learn things from others you never knew existed, and these little morsels dropped into a chat over coffee or supper can take your writing or painting in an entirely new and exciting direction.  Walking about a familiar neighbourhood with a friend, you might see details you never knew were there, just because they see the world in a different way to you.  They might share their struggles in life, and inspire to acts of bravery in your own that you had no idea you were capable of.  And you, in your turn, will ignite new fires in them with your off-the-cuff remarks, and tales of your own life.

People are so exciting.  Connect with them.

I feel so grateful for the friendship of Justin and Val Debuse and their daughter, Sophia;  Nina Robertson; and Helen Todd and Mike Magruder.  Thank all for so generously sharing your time and your laughter with me this week.

Happy Creating,


Creativity Tip of the Day – Positive People

Supportive Friends

Supportive Friends

One of the best ways to enhance my creativity that I have found over the years is to surround myself with positive people who support my work.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

When it comes to actually doing it, though, we often struggle.  Sometimes it is hard to let go of friendships with people who are unsupportive of our creative dreams.  So often, I have heard people say to me:

‘Oh, its so hard to get published, and there are so many people out there trying to do it.  Why bother?’

‘There’s no money in the arts.  You have to get a proper job.’

‘You need to get serious and grow up.’

‘Are you still writing your little stories?’ (This one is the most patronising I’ve had!)

None of these remarks have anything to do with your creativity, or mine.  They are all excuses from people who are afraid to take the plunge and do something creative for its own sake.

Truly supportive friends are enthusiastic.  They want to hear about your work.  They offer helpful and supportive comments.  They will offer to read your writing in a loving and constructive manner (rather than just telling you how they would have done it).  They will take your efforts seriously, and understand that you are doing what you love because you love doing it.  They will never point out how there is no money in it (not true) because they know thats not why you do it.  They will joyfully share your dreams.

Keeping positive is difficult enough in these dangerous and depleting times.  Keeping positive in the midst of a gruelling creative project is even harder.

Yes, we need to be part of a creative community of fellow practitioners of our chosen arts.

We also need to surround ourselves with friends who are willing to cheer us on.  They don’t necessarily have to be people who pursue the same creative arts as we do.  Their creativity may lie in the sciences, applied crafts or in the natural world, or in any other area.

What supportive friends do is share our enthusiasm.

Take the time to cultivate the people in your life who make you feel good about your creativity and yourself.  Find friends who are willing to get out there and cheer you on.  Cheer them on in your turn.  You will find so much creative energy in this simple lifestyle change, and I guarantee that it will enhance your world and your creative practise.

Happy Creating,