Monday, December 26, 2011
A Writing Community: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Recently I was critiquing manuscripts at a local conference. I was working with someone who needed help with voice – not my greatest strength. Just then a novelist I know walked past the door. “Jody, what resources would you recommend for someone who needs help with voice?”
Fortunately, Missouri has an excellent children’s writing community and I know many of them well. I’m also active on an international children’s writing board. When I need to know how to work through an editor’s rewrite request, how to get past the slump in the middle of my novel, or where to find information on beginning readers, all I have to do is ask.
Sure, I could find resources about all of these topics and more online. Search the posts here on the Muffin and look through back issues of WOW! and you’ll find a wealth of material. Do a Google search. You’ll find more information than you can possibly read.
But sometimes you need one on one interaction. You need to tell someone the specifics of your situation and then bask in their wisdom. E-mail noted authors blindly and you may get you some feedback, but not nearly as much as you’ll get from writers you actually know.
Not sure where to connect with these fellow writers? Look for organizations that cater to your type of writing. You’ll find Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
But what if you write romance and children’s stories and medical nonfiction? Do a Google search for Writer’s Guilds in your area. In my neck of the woods, we have the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, The Missouri Writers Guild, and the Heartland Guild.
Still no success? Then look for online communities such as Writers Café and Verla Kay’s Message Board for Children’s Writers and Illustrators.
Once you find a group of writers, it will take a while to get to know which writers are receptive to questions and who can send you to the person with the answers when they aren’t that person themselves. But it is well worth it when you realize that the help you need is no more than a shout away.
A writing community really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Author Sue Bradford Edwards blogs at One Writer's Journey.