I've just had my 47th birthday, although I don't really think of myself as being in my mid/late 40s, and I'm what you would call a sentimental sap. I'm also an idealist and a hopeless romantic. I have learned that I can't take anything for granted, and that includes my friends. It's difficult to maintain consistent contact with people (especially when you have 2000+ friends on Facebook and 1800+ on Twitter), but I feel that, if we've made a connection, there's a good reason for it. I was a late bloomer when it came to making friends, mostly late high school and college, and I'm an introvert. With all of that, I have come to a realization:
Friendship fuels creativity.
The positive energy that comes from the bonds that we make with others is a self-sustaining source of power for being a creative person. It's a purely positive energy that has immeasurable effects on the human mind. Connections made between people amplify the ability (and confidence) to test barriers and break boundaries.
As a writer, I rely on my circles of friends and acquaintances to contribute to a certain level of sanity (being completely sane wouldn't help me; I need to be on the edge a bit). I'm so grateful for the people in my life, and the words "thank you" are ill-equipped to convey how I feel toward them and the efforts they go to brighten my life. Expressing gratitude in human terms simply cannot tell the important people in my life just how much they mean to me. So, I want to let them know a few things.
- Your friendship makes me smile, and that smile in turn raises my endorphins, something that raises my mood.
- When I'm in a better mood, my creative process becomes easier to manage (since we all know that creativity spikes and dips), and I can work through the slower periods knowing I have people who care about me and who I care about.
- With that added confidence, I can push through writer's block or force myself to tackle a snag in a plot element that I might not deal with otherwise or take a risk.
I make no real distinction between friends I know in a virtual arena like Facebook and those I know in person. Friendship IS friendship. If you've taken time to listen to me vent or talked with me about life in general or we've helped each other in a jam or whatever—I value that connection.
It's because of that that I'm a better writer because I can channel our positive connection into something productive. Friendship is a type of love, and I'm willing to take leaps of faith or risks to help a friend in need because of that love. Mutual bonds help make people more confident, and more confidence is a catalyst for creativity.