In Support of Writing Groups, like SCBWI or NaNoWriMo

Do you feel writing is a lone adventure? If you answer, “The writing part is,” I can accept that. In order to get the rough draft out, you yourself must sit down and dedicate the time to actually do it. If you answer the entire writing process is a lone adventure, I want to take your hand and welcome you into the world of writers.

Today I overheard a woman in our Barnes and Nobel who had written a YA, self-published it, her family loved the story, and she was asking the clerk how to sell her book since B&N wouldn’t take it on. I didn’t exactly stalk her, but felt as though I was led to her this morning. So I introduced myself and walked with her out to the parking lot. It was a short conversation with little eye contact. Poor thing probably was fumbling in her pocket for her phone, hoping her fingers could dial 911 without looking at it. I politely asked about her YA book, and then if she was in any writing group. No, she wasn’t. I asked if she’d heard of SCBWI. No, she hadn’t. But she had to meet her sister for lunch, so good-bye. I gave her my business card and wrote the SCBWI national website on the back. I don’t know her name, but I do hope I had more of an influence than just terrorizing her.

I remember my early days of writing, alone, when my mom gave her writing advice for me to publish my stories in Reader’s Digest or get Oprah to talk about it on her show.

I remember joining a live writing group where I was the only children’s author, and after reading a piece, everyone consistently responded with, “Oh, how nice,” or “I’m sure children will like it.”

I remember driving nine hours to a generic writers conference where twelve of us children’s authors moved about huddled together from one workshop (on romance) to another (on marketing your book) to another (on using correct forensics evidence in your story). (Love you Pikes Peak Writers Conference folk!)

And then I met SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and fell in love.

In support of writing groups:

1) Other writers encourage you to, well, write and to finish writing what you’ve started.

2) Honest critique group people (with other than family members) will point out inconsistencies or spelling or grammar errors. After all, we all want to be not only writers, but good writers.

3) Paying a club fee for a wealth of information treasure is well worth it. The SCBWI.org site is full of helpful information, about writing, about agents, about editors, about what’s current, etc. There are also national groups like RWA (Romance Writers of America) or WWA (Western Writers of America), just to name two others.

4) Attending conferences hooks you up with agents, editors, and a flock of similar-thinking writers.

5) With online courses and groups, the information world concerning writing is abundant. In a couple of weeks starts NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month), where the challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, or 1,667 words per day. You may never meet any of the NaNo writers face to face, but you know there are thousands of others taking up the challenge along side of you. You can do it! You are not alone.

So if you are not in a writing group… why not!

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