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Life is other writers

15. July 2006

I went to my first meeting of the Melbourne Romance Writers today. It was interesting, from waiting outside and talking to another (male) patron (who complained about the fact that nobody came to the library for the books any more) right down to the tea room conversations. The group was medium-sized, and, outside the conference, the largest gathering of romance writers I have ever been surrounded by. An interesting experience.

Romance writing groups make me feel good for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that it’s a nice feeling to be able to “talk shop” without having to explain things. If I want to whinge about my heroine being weak or my hero a jerk, they will understand. If I talk about sweating blood and tears over my dark moment, they will nod and tell their tales. They know what it’s like to tell (or not tell) your friends and family. They get The Money Issue.
But they also make me feel good because I’m an insanely competitive person. If I’m surrounded by successes (contest finals, first sales, 30th sales) all the time, I feel, well, worthless. Seeing fellow struggling writers who I can keep up with puts me in a more favourable spot.
Hey, they give you chocolate for competing with each other! (Not winning at someone else’s expense, since everybody can win every chocolate category) It’s brilliant.

I’m not quite sure whether this group has any actual use for me at this stage of my writing career apart from a social gathering and a pick-me-up, but that’s good enough for me anyway, so I’ll definitely come back.
Of course, as in all groups, some people were more sympathetic than others, but as seems to always be the case with romance writers, everybody was interesting and utterly lovely in their own right. What a great bunch of “loonie-looking ladies” (as the original patron called them). Colour me loonied!

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