This week, I had a number of occasions to think about the invaluable role writer friends play in a writer’s life. Tuesday, I had a fabulous writing date with Veronica Wolff. We sipped coffee (and later in the day wine), enjoyed her fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean, caught up on families and writing projects, but still managed to spend most of our time working on our laptops. I wrote 2300 words, the most I’ve written so far on any one day for this book, and a *very* good writing day for me on any day. There’s something about working alongside another writer that helps me focus in and be productive.

Wednesday, I had lunch with Anne Mallory, Monica McCarty, and Penny Williamson at the wonderful Café Rouge in Berkeley, celebrating, among other things, Anne’s book For the Earl’s Pleasure being a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest and Monica making the NYT list with her latest book, The Chief. That’s another thing about writer friends. They understand just how important it is to celebrate all the good things, because the writer’s life can be very unpredictable.

Wednesday night I went with Monica when she talked to a romance readers group at a Borders in Los Gatos (with some time spent working in the Borders café between lunch and the talk). It was fascinating hearing readers’ insights on the books they’re reading. Then Monica, Veronica, Bella Andre, Jackie Yau, and I had dinner with more writer talk.

Saturday, Penny and I wore hats and went out for tea at the gorgeous Garden Court in the Palace Hotel. Like stepping back in time to the days of art deco (my dad used to go tea dancing at the Garden Court as a teenager). It was a long-delayed celebration for my new book contract (and no less fun for being delayed).

The whole week was a very rejuvenating combination of fun and work. It made me realize yet again how much support and inspiration I get from my writing friends, whether it’s writing together, celebrating successes, or brainstorming plot ideas. I love writing at home with a cup of tea on a gray, rainy day like this one, but I don’t think I could get through a book without the support of my writer friends.

Do you write or work on other projects with friends? Do you find sometimes friends who share your field (whether it’s writing or something else) are the only ones who understand the particular joys and stresses of that field? Does knowing particular writers are friends influence what you think when you read those writers’ books?