Morning coffee? Check. Yoga pants? Yes, please. A good book? Duh! All are necessities of my writer's life. I can't speak for everyone, but another necessity is my local writers' group.
I'm currently a member of Maumee Valley Romance Authors, Inc. (MVRAI), and American Christian Fiction Writers Ohio chapter. Before that, I belonged to Virginia Romance Writers (VRW), and prior to that, I was a member of Pen to Paper, a small, general writing group where I lived at the time.
Each group shaped my writing in ways I never could have anticipated. Pen to Paper got me back into fiction writing after years on hold and taught me the basics of writing. A few years later, I found myself in Virginia, and VRW was my first local RWA group. Unfortunately, a few months after joining, we moved again, but I learned from VRW that romance writers are nice, encouraging and successful. I'll always be grateful for my short time with them.
By far, MVRAI has impacted my writing the most. I joined in 2008. Eight years with professional romance writers will teach you a lot! Our members have changed during this time, but the support hasn't. I'm very grateful for them.
Why My Local Writers' Group Rocks
1. We share our goals.
2. We share industry news.
3. We share our writing milestones.
4. We host interesting speakers--nurses, firemen, police officers, copyright attorneys, agents, editors, life coaches--you name it, we've hosted them!
5. We review writing craft topics.
6. We spend a weekend at a cabin on a lake, brainstorming stories and writing.
7. We share marketing tips.
8. We celebrate each others' successes.
9. We support each other when discouraged.
10. We remind each other we're not alone in this--and it gives us the push to keep going when we're down.
I could go on and on about my writing group. One reason our group works is that we share a common goal. We are all romance writers who want to be published or are published. We understand the difficulties involved with publishing right now, but we've chosen not to dwell on the negatives and to embrace the positives.
We accept each publishing choice as an individual choice. No one thought less of me when I chose not to self publish but to hold out for a traditional publisher, even when it took years and years. And the ones who self published? We wanted to know all the details! Our members have tried pretty much every publishing option out there (with the exception of vanity press). We learn from each other. We inspire each other.
Another bonus? Some of the women I met when I joined have become very good friends. I couldn't be more thankful for them!
As you can see, I really can't say enough about local writers' groups. They usually offer one or two free meetings to see if it's a good fit. Take advantage of this. If it doesn't seem like it's you, try another group. I think the most important thing to ask yourself is what are you looking for? If you want to be published, join a professional writing group. If you want to expand your writing skills, look for a group that focuses on assignments and/or critiques. You'll learn from the writers around you.
Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? What did you like about it? What didn't you like?
Have a terrific day!
Jill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith for Harlequin Love Inspired. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, she adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.