There does seem to be something of a myth of the solitary writer in the isolated garret - I guess initially perpetuated by the romantics in the 19th century - which has become generally accepted. And yet, writing is such a relational act; we are relating with ourselves, with the words (evoking images and memories) and eventually with a seen or unseen audience.

Before the written words, stories were told round a fire. The teller would be listened to, no doubt, but the audience would also play a role. Perhaps prompting certain twists in the tale or reminding the others of bits which had been forgotten and omitted. Yet in our literary-based world this interaction has been squeezed out.

No writer can write without peers to help them with feedback. I was reminded of this on Saturday when I spent time with a writerly friend and came away inspired and motivated by the responses she had given to my work. Feedback has come attached to the word 'critical' and so it has become associated with something which is necessarily negative or aimed at ripping apart the text (and, therefore, the self which has created it). None of this should be true. Good critical feedback assists the writer and their work to develop and flourish. Good writing cannot come to fruition without it. It is, therefore, essential that we choose our critical writerly friends with care.