Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Value of Joining a Writing Community

Northern Colorado Writers

Last Sunday I attended a Northern Colorado Writers Open House hosted by NCW Director Kerrie Flanagan. This was a great opportunity to reconnect with some of the writers I hadn't seen lately and also meet a few of the newer members and learn what kind of writing they're interested in. I talked to one old friend (old as measured by how long we've been acquainted through NCW), and discovered that he also plans to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. He's going to have a rough time, however, because he's a recovering academic writer focusing on memoir. He doesn't know how to sit down and just type everything that flows through his head. His need for perfection and his constant self-editing will keep him at the computer a long time each day to finish the average 1,667 word daily quota.

Tuesday I met with four other writers at Panera Bread for lunch to catch up on each others' progress toward publication and learn about current projects. Our intended one  hour of conversation lasted almost two hours. One of the ideas that popped up was to arrange a mini-retreat where we'd connect to spend a day of silent writing except for a coffee break and a (short) lunch break.

I'm also going to sign up for one of the NCW classes to be held this fall. Beyond Book Signings; Making Book Promotion Fun is the one I going to take. If you live in mid-to-northern Colorado, and are interested in writing for magazines or writing and selling personal essays, check out the classes page on the NCW website.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

I've belonged to RMFW a lot of years because of their outstanding annual conference and the ability to connect with members online and at various programs and classes throughout the year. Recently I volunteered to help launch a blog and have found that a great way to meet even more of the members than ever before. Whether a writer is just beginning and hopes to be published someday or is a veteran with several novels already for sale, he or she can benefit from RMFW's continuing education, support, and camaraderie we all need but often don't have because we don't understand how important community can be for writers.

RMFW offers regular classes, many of them free, in the Denver area and on the Western Slope. Online classes are also an option, especially for those who live far away, and you don't have to be a member to participate. Author Karen Duvall is doing an online class called How to Write Powerful Description beginning Monday, November 4th. All the information and the registration link are on the RMFW website.

And here's a very cool new event: A spring writers' retreat is set for March 16-21, 2014, at the Table Mountain Inn in Golden, CO.

And More

I also belong to the Mystery Writers of America which includes a Denver-based local group called Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, two outstanding education and support groups for writers of crime fiction (and crime non-fiction, too.)

Yes, I still consider myself an introvert and like to go all hermit on everyone from time to time, but without the friends I've made in these writing communities, I doubt I'd be enjoying myself very much.

What organizations are part of your tribe of writerly contacts? Do you take classes, go to conferences or fan conventions, or just hang out with your writer friends once in a while?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't have any real-life writer groups. Just my writer friends here and the IWSG.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I recently reconnected to my two writing groups. I get so much out of the face to face networking.

Amy Jarecki said...

Goodness, I'd be lost without my groups...LUW, HWG, RWA, CHRWA, and my Monday critique group. Bless them all!

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat- I'm so very glad you've found such supportive and helpful writers' groups. I think we need to work together and help each other.

E.J. Wesley said...

This is something that has been severely lacking in my writing life, Patricia. We moved to California over the summer, and I left behind my local writing mates in Texas. I need to get back out there and meet some "real" people/writers again! (Not that all of you--my web friends--aren't real. LOL Just a different kind of interaction. :)

Julie Luek said...

I'm so thankful to get to know other writers through RMFW and local groups-- and of course, love working on the blog with you!