Jane Austen and Good Company

Aunty Merkel for gallery“My idea of good company … is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”

“You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.”

Jane Austen, Persuasion

We all yearn for connections with interesting and agreeable people. Yes, even we writers — as a rule happy when alone, amongst our books, and wandering barefoot through the Internet — love to laugh and talk.  Most writers I’ve met when from time to time I step away from my desk are talented at making and keeping friends, because likeable company makes the world go around.  And, happiness helps the work get done.

One of the first things we can do to grow our happiness in our writing careers is to search out a few writers who will be our first strength and we theirs. Someone who is farther along the path than we are, and someone who is perhaps closer to the start.  Genre matters little.  Personality is all.

I love to watch people who sparkle with happiness as they strike up conversations in queues, on the train, in the park.  Some writers are talented in making quick connections at the drop of a hat.  Others of us find starting conversations more difficult (although it’s worth practicing—we don’t want to stand tongue tied around strangers at our own book launches) but are brilliant at forging few but excellent friendships that last decades or a lifetime.  If we can find a way to cherish both, we’re likely to be happy and productive writers.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing day today.

Cheers, Mel



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