Monday, October 23, 2006

To join a writing group

Recently Rachel Vincent devoted a post to finding/picking critique partners, which was a topic I definitely benefited from. (BTW if you haven’t stopped by her blog recently, the cover for Stray is up. Go look!) She suggested looking for a CP through local chapter meetings of RWA (and other writing groups) or online. That was the part where I hit myself on the head and said “Yeah, I should have thought of that.”

Of course, I have thought of it before, but remember I’m shy about admitting to being a writer, so I’ve avoided writing groups. It’s clearly time to kick that bad habit. (Especially since I just volunteered to be CO-Municipal Liaison for my regional Nano)

There are two local chapters of RWA within reasonable driving distance, both have published and unpublished authors represented, workshops at the monthly meetings, published writer/agent speakers, and allotted time for network/socializing. That all sounds great (especially the workshops) but I’m not a romance writer, so I'm not completely sure RWA will be a good fit. Worried about that fact, I did a quick search of my favorite urban fantasy writers and learned that many of them are in the RWA. I wrote my agent to get her opinion, and she thought joining would be a good move.

After contacting both chapters, I learned that I can sit in on a meeting before I join, so I've decided to attend the next meeting for both groups. Why both, why not pick one? Well, one (LRWA) is around 2-21/2 hours away, but I have a friend local to the area so I can visit her after the meeting. The other (CWA) is only an hour away, so closer, but no friend. Besides that, since I do have the choice of two, it seems wise to allow myself to decide which chapter has members I mesh with better.

I’m nervous, but excited. The LRWA meeting is this weekend (the 28th) and the CWA is the following (the 4th). I’m hoping to learn a lot and meet a lot of interesting people. I’m sure I’ll post something after the meeting, but until then: is anyone reading this in a writing group? (of any kind) If so, what benefits do you feel being in the group has brought you?


fred charles said...

I've never really considered joining a writers group. Not that I think that I don't need it, it never really occured to me. I've participated in some online but was a bit turned off by the ever present egos that frequent these sort of gathering.

Let us know how it turns out for you. I will be interested in hearing about the details.

Rachel Vincent said...

I hope you like it. I don't write romance either, so some of the workshops my group does don't interest/apply to me. But the friendship and connections (particularly to unpublished, unagented writers, which I was when I joined) can be invaluable.

Kalayna-Nicole Price said...

Hey Fred:
I have this secret fear of all the published writers sitting at the "big" table and laughing at the little unpublished ones. But, from what I have heard, the groups as a whole sound really supportive and accepting. I'll definitely post my impressions when I get home.

Thanks Rachel. It will be good to find other people at the same stage of the game as me, and look for advice from people beyond where I am. As long as I can scrap together the courage, that is.

I spent over a year working as the assistant manager of a bookstore, and part of my job was working with authors to set signings. I never told a single one of them that I wrote or managed to ask for writing advice, though I did ask a couple how they got started.

fred charles said...

I spent a bit of time yesterday trying to locate a writing group in my area but I could find not. Most of the google hits that I got were for Online Workshops.

Maybe I should start one in my non-existant free time ;)