One of the best things about the writing life is the connections you make with other like-minded people. This has been a week of meeting up with other writers and sharing ideas and experiences. First up was the Poetry Workshop with David Brooks, where a roomful of eager poets gathered to soak up David’s wisdom on The Mystery of The Line Break. It was a hugely informative and inspiring morning – if only it were a few hours longer. It’s inspired me to get back into writing poetry again, so look out for something new on the Poems page in the next few weeks.

And then there are all the wonderful writers who came to my classes and workshops this week. Some of them have been students of mine for a couple of years now and seeing the way writing has become such a central part of their lives is so gratifying. Some of them are now entering competitions and sending their writing off to various mags and publications. Danielle has had 6 or more columns in MS and Perla, Kay, Katherine, Bron and Sharon are all working on novels. Jim, Andy, Robyn and Susan are all working on shorter pieces and poetry. Congratulations to Jeanette who placed third in the poetry section of the Visions competition recently. My Tuesday class is powering away with many members churning out more and more words each week. At yesterday’s Revision and Editing Workshop it was great to catch up again with Caz who wrote her novel longhand a couple of years ago and has decided to pull it out of the drawer and breathe new life into it. Wanda, who is relatively new to writing is already working on her second novel and Carolyn is working on the story she started last term which just won’t seem to go away. Seeing the way all these writers are connecting with and learning from each other reaffirms my belief in the power of writing to connect.

And to use a well-worn cliché, last but definitely not least, are my Writer’ Dozen buddies. None of us would still be writing if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement we continue to give each other. With our own anthology published and two of our ranks – Margaret Wilcox and Yvonne Louis* – already picked up by commercial publishers, a number of us are still pursuing the dream of publication. Monique McDonnell  has already written four Romance novels and has come frustratingly close. Pauline Reynolds is working on two novels and a memoir and continues to write wonderfully humorous poems. Jen Tomasetti has finished the first draft of her outback romance, Rusty Road. Terri Green, runner-up in this year’s Womens Weekly Short Story Contest, is powering away with her YA and Romance writing at the same time as working on a Masters. Angella Whitton is working on a new novel while her first one takes a holiday. Yvonne is working on her second non-fiction book which revisits the world of art. Being part of such a dynamic and talented group has not  only helped keep me focused on my writing it has created new friendships, with people from diverse backgrounds who I would never have crossed paths with in my “normal” world.

This week will be a lot quieter with more time spent at my desk, completing a few more chapters of my novel Shallow Crossing, and writing a poem or two.

 *For an interview with  Margaret Wilcox’s, author of Gone, go to www.justwrite.net.au

 * Yvonne Louis’ memoir A Brush with Mondrian, published by Murdoch is available in bookshops now