You all belong to Word Wenches, obviously. Is there another writers' group or organization in your life that gives you support and enjoyment? Or is there another, perhaps altogether different, formal or informal group that influences your writing or help you in your writing life?
Mary Jo says:
There are so many valuable writing groups that it belies the idea that writing is a solitary profession! Most writers love to get together and talk about writing, the business, and, of course, our work sin progress. My first group was the Maryland Romance Writers, the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. There were only ten members, but they knew a lot more about writing and publishing than I did. I'm still a member of MRW, it's grown much larger, and it's still very supportive.
All RWA groups, both regional and national, have been great places where I've learned and met lifelong friends, including most of the Word Wenches. I have a special fondness for Novelists, Inc. which is for popular fiction authors from all genres. It's always offered terrific support for the business of writing, and it's become a leader in helping writers master the emerging world of independent publishing.
Yet the Word Wenches are unique. We all write and love historical novels, and there is structure because we've all committed to posting regularly on this blog. That's business, but we've gone beyond that to become a sisterhood. We share information and laughter and offer sympathy for life's downs as well as congratulations on the ups. Not to mention sharing pet pictures and stories. <G> We like each other, we cheer each other on, and there is no queen bee. Which is why we're still here, doing what we do and enjoying it.
I second what Mary Jo said about writing no longer being the solitary occupation it used to be. Email and affordable phone calls has changed all that. I have writing friends all over the world, with whom I can talk over a writing problem or brainstorm an idea or share a piece of writing.
I doubt that I can add to the other posts. As a lifelong introvert, I never talked about my writing when I first started out. I was living in a tiny town without a bookstore and didn’t know The Romantic Times existed until Kathryn Falk tracked me down and asked if I knew Leigh Greenwood. Silly me, I thought he was a country musician. I think she may have mentioned RWA, but when I asked my agent and editor about the organization, they told me it was a bunch of cantankerous crazies. So my first real writer’s support group was Novelists Inc, which I learned about in the very early days of email—over long distance and a phone modem from friends I’d been corresponding with through snail mail.
My first Novelists’ Inc conference was an eye opener. I was talking to the women who wrote the books I loved. They were just like me in so many ways that it was like coming home to family. Better, because they understood the craziness in my head. That group taught me to talk about what I did. We exchanged information that made me realize my agent and editor were trying to keep me from learning that I was seriously underpaid. Since I was into women’s lib at the time, I took to the warpath and joined the cantankerous crazies, helping women make a living at writing.Since then, I’ve met authors who have become close friends because they lived within driving distance, and authors whose friendship has exceeded state and national boundaries. Brainstorming with Mary Jo and Susan King led to reaching out to mutual friends and forming the Word Wenches. And although our numbers and members have changed over the years, I’ve found every one of them to be a tremendous source of support and friendship over the years.
Joanna: I'm with everyone else here in loving the wonderful national organizations like RWA. I've made lots of friends through the local RWA chapter.
And the RWA Natiional Conference is a blast.
Writers spend a lot of time in our heads. It's good we belong to a profession that also leads us to writing friends.
What groups do you belong to that stretch your mind, fill your heart, and lead you to friends?