The other day I took the Black offspring to their athletics club and watched them hare around the track. Their ability and determination never cease to amaze me.
I should point out for the sake of transparency that I am possibly the least sporty person I have ever met. Pouring myself another glass of wine is more than enough to exhaust me for the day.
I blame my Mother of course. She locked me in our house from the age of six and didn't allow me out until I had an offer from a Russell Group University safely under my belt. To be fair, we lived on a sink estate where every third teenager had an aerosol can up their sleeve and our next door neighbour left his upstairs window open so he could escape from the police with balletic ease.
My kids however, live such ludicrously middle class lifestyles that they are more likely to meet their doom at the bumper of a badly driven Rangerover. Thus they, unlike their Rapunzle like mater, are allowed out into the world and have consequently built enough muscle density to run.
And run they do. Like Greyhounds. Only cuter.
So I watched them doing their laps and it struck me that although running is essentially a solo sport, how much more they enjoyed themselves and how much more they improve from being part of their club. Obviously there's nothing stopping anyone training alone but there's nothing like a bit of encouragement to make those legs work harder.
And then, because with me all roads lead back to writing, it struck me that this is exactly why I love being part of a writing group.
Clearly most of my writing takes place alone ( fortunate considering I generally wear old trackie bottoms and a Luton pineapple). Hours and hours spent tapping away with only radio four for company. But what is indisputable is that when I release my work into the wild ie to my writing group it improves hugely.
Not only do my fellow writers provide insightful and helpful comments, steering me where I need to go and telling me in no uncertain terms when things are not working, they have, right from the start cheered me on. Unfailingly, they have supported me and pushed me forward.
I have acknowledged them in all my books so far and cannot see any reason why I would stop.
From the first session when they informed me that indeed I could write, to the night we cracked the bubbly when I got my first publishing deal I wouldn't be without them.
So for any aspiring writers I would urge you to find this priceless tool for your kit. Join a group or a club. Meet regularly and encourage one another. If there's nothing nearby go online and join a writers' community.
Cos there is nothing like safety in numbers.