By Jill Earl
I just received my copy of Pen In Hand, the Maryland Writers Association’s newsletter. I decided to join as one of my birthday presents to myself last year and am glad for the decision. Within that period of time, I've had an article published in our newsletter, served on the meeting committee for our local chapter and participated in a panel discussion on broadcast media. Your local writers’ association can offer numerous opportunities to establish or further your writing career. Finding one in your area can start with your library, local arts council or check out the Internet for more information. Following are a few benefits to joining these organizations.
Joining a writers’ association can provide an abundance of networking opportunities such as social gatherings, meetings, lectures, and other events. Not only can you meet writers in your specialty, but you can also meet those who work in other genres. You'll receive much needed support through peer interaction, and build relationships.
Writers’ associations often have critique groups for members to hone their craft, while getting valuable feedback on works-in-progress. Group members decide on location, length and frequency of meetings, along with the focus of their particular group.
Many writers’ associations sponsor conferences where both members and non-members can attend seminars and workshops featuring local and nationally-known authors covering areas ranging from poetry to writing for children. One-on-one critiques with editors are frequently offered. Publishers appear to give advice on how prepare your submissions and insider views on the publishing process. And networking opportunities abound.
So if there’s one available, consider joining your local writers’ association, and let the benefits help grow you as a writer. It really is a worthwhile investment.