(Continued from Part 2)
Writers Groups inspire our senses and open our minds to new ideas – let’s continue to count the ways …
Writers Groups are generally filled with writers. Each writer has explored different avenues of discovery for improving their writing—some are newbies just getting started, while others have been doing this for a long time. All of us learn to be resourceful and, hopefully, share our resources among us.
We share Tips, Tricks, and Recommendations for books written by authors who specialize in teaching writing skills, along with well-written novels, memoirs, non-fiction, children’s books, etc, to use as examples for improving our techniques. We also share websites where quality information is available for writing, publishing, marketing our written works, along with websites that offer paid writing opportunities and writing contests that offer scholarship or grant support for our writing passions.
We also Share Info About Other Writing Events, such as classes, workshops, and other writers’ groups, whether they be local, require travel, or are available online. Some of these are free, some cost very little, and some are quite expensive especially when travel expenses to get there are involved. Sometimes a writers’ group will offer scholarship funds to assist you with discounts on writers’ workshops and events locally or even at a distance. It’s nice to be a part of a group of writers constantly researching and bringing new ideas and new resources to each other.
Being a Member of a Writers’ Group Makes a Nice Addition to Your Bio. If you are a writer who is published, in the process of publishing, or just thinking about being published someday—whether you are writing a book or a periodical for a magazine or newspaper—adding that little “Member of Such’n’Such Writers’ Group” gives a nice lift to your bio. When you volunteer to serve on the Board of your Writers’ Group, your bio suddenly seems to shine with neon lights. To serve your writers’ group is a privilege and an honor, not to be used or abused for personal gain; however, it does have its perks.
As I mentioned before, my first visit to our local Writers’ Group was an uplifting, heart-filling experience. Much to my chagrin, I was unable to return the next month due to a conflict with my work schedule. Elated, I returned yet the following month, all smiles, excitement, and heart on my sleeve stuff oozing from every pore only to discover that this group that had been happening for twenty years was going to close its doors forevermore for lack of volunteers to serve on the Board. The president was moving to another state. The Vice President was moving to another country. No one wanted to fill those positions. No one wanted to, or had the time to, do the work to keep the group going.
I was in shock. I had finally found this place and these people and I couldn’t let this group fall to pieces without doing something to help hold them together. I admit, my motives were completely selfish—I wanted more of this experience with these wonderful writers! So I volunteered to be president, and to take on the workload of the vice president as well while we searched for someone else who might be willing to fill that position. It was put to a vote among the members and I was elected President.
Since I had only been to two of these fine gatherings of great literary minds, I had much to learn about what it takes to keep the wheels of such a group turning. Indeed, I learned. The first three months were eye-opening. The next three months were like having a part-time job with no paycheck. The third trimester (it did feel a bit like “being with child”) was fulfilling beyond anything I could imagine. Membership had doubled, and I was receiving the kindest, most thoughtful and gracious emails and phone calls thanking me for my hard work. Finally, near the end of the year, an acquaintance of old who had recently moved to the area and become a member of the group volunteered for the position of Vice President and we are enjoying the best of writing times!
During the last part of the third trimester, I self-published my first book. I was advised to include a brief bio and include my Board position in the writers group I am proud to be a part of. I remind us all that, although this is a benefit of membership in a writers group, the service we provide by volunteering our time and efforts is the real reward.
What’s next? Look for my future blog post – “Dotting our I’s and Crossing our T’s”
For a more comprehensive look at how to improve and refine your writing skills and technique, please visit my Classes page and join me for my Writing Basics. I also offer Saturday morning online group writing sessions.
© Jennifer Sweete, April 2016