Connecting with other writers

This month's topic, Resources for Writers, had me going in a completely different direction. A decade or so ago when I first started to write, I had ordered several books from Writer's Digest. One was a reference book about magazine and publishing houses and what they were looking for in a story and how to reach the right person.

Through that same book, I also found a link to Romance Writers of America, and then eventually to a local chapter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I lived seventy miles away and the meetings were held on a Thursday night so there was quite a bit of challenge with babysitters and bad weather, but once I'd made the connection with that group, it was like finally reaching land after spending a year at sea.

Heart of Iowa Fiction Authors gave me my first connection to someone else who was trying to write a story. The meetings were always informative (if not over my head:) and I had the opportunity to socialize with other aspiring authors. That was a big deal for me.

Through the years, although my needs as a writer have changed, my connection to that group has not. Longtime members viewed our meetings as a time to catch-up and learn a little something new. But it was always the visitors to the group that lit a fire under me. What can be more inspiring than pure enthusiasm for putting words to paper? And many times their excitement for the craft gave me a lift at just the right time.

Nowadays, we as writers have many opportunities to reach out to others in the business. Through conferences, contests and writer's loops, we have the chance to connect with someone who is walking the same path. When you have a little free time, run an internet search on writer's resources and see how many opportunities are available.


Reese Mobley said...

Great post, Jan. I remember my first WARA meeting. I was so in awe of the published writers (still am) and the understanding and support of the romance writing community. The connection is often immediate and the bonds of friendship are quite often lifelong. It's truly amazing and heartwarming. XOXO

Joan Vincent said...

I was first published in 1980. I didn't know a single writer or anything about writing resources other than what I found at the library. Finding WARA changed that along with the development of Internet access to almost anything. Some of you probably can't imagine when the Internet wasn't available but for those of us who used typewriters for our first books the present day availability of resources is amazing. It's also great to connect with other writers through email loops etc. Thanks for the post. I am very thankful for the connections I've made through WARA. I remember my first meeting too. Reese and Pat made me feel like I'd come home.

Pat Davids said...

We're glad you found your way to WARA. I know you'll be a valuble assest to our group.

For anyone who is thinking about becoming a writer, I can't stress enough how valuable membership in a group can be. How many times did I report a new rejection letter during member news? More times than I like to remember, but what I can't forget is the encouragement I got from my fellow WARA members.

Penny Rader said...

Great post, Jan! I'm so glad you found WARA. Being part of this group of caring, sharing women has certainly enriched my life.

And I hear you, Joan, on the typewriter (I did tons of typing and retyping and retyping) and the library. I'm so tickled to have a computer and by how much info is available online. I still like to use real books, too, for research but it's nice to know that, in a pinch, I can peek online and see if I can find what I need.

Nina Sipes said...

You're so right about the romance writing community. Without WARA, Penny, and the others, I'd be one sunk duck. Together they're a gentle but mighty force. Individually, someone always seems to have an answer for whatever question that is plaguing me at the moment.
Thanks to them I can function both in the writerly world and the regular one. Discovering a person has a writerly brain is like finding a world of little people under your kitchen sink. Where'd they come from and have they been there always?
Good Post.

Penny Rader said...

You are such a sweetie, Nina! I'm so glad you're a part of WARA. Now, I'm off to look under my kitchen sink for those little people. :D