When I started my journey to publication in 2014 I realized pretty quickly I didn’t have a support group around me. Oh, I had – and still have – plenty of friends who thought it was great that I was going to try and get a book published. They cheered me on, boosted me up a bit. But I had no one – no single person – I could talk one-on-one to about the process of writing. I had plenty of people who wanted to read what I wrote but no one close to me who would be able to give me a professional, capable, knowing critique. And I certainly didn’t have anyone in my realm who knew about the business end of writing, publishing, and what needed to be done to get the word out their about your work.
Since I’m a plotter by nature, and that means I really really really think things through, thoroughly, before I implement them, the one way I could see to solve this dilemma for myself was to find a writing group. None existed in my town for romance writers, but I found one with a plethora of writing tastes so I decided to visit one of their meetings.
Best thing I ever did because it taught me exactly what I DIDN’T want in the way of a writing group. I won’t go into detail because it’s a little emotionally and ego-deflatingly painful to even remember that night, but I learned a great lesson: Like needs Like. If I was going to write romance, I needed to be around other writers who had the same passion and desire to read and write the genre as I had. This little group I’d just visited looked down their snotty and pious noses at me for even considering to write something as plebian ( one member’s word choice) and morally corrupt (another’s!) as romance.
See why I never went back?
Next step, find a group of romance writers. Easy peasy. I googled RWA, found out about the local chapter in my state, emailed the membership person listed and was invited straightaway to the next meeting. Which I went to. And I’ve never looked back.
These writers were my sistahs. My tribe! At that very first meeting, I learned sosososo much about the publishing industry I had never known before that my head was spinning by the time the meeting was over.
And they were NICE! SO nice. And welcoming. And knowledgeable. And wicked smart, snarky, and funny.
Like I said: MY SISTAHS.
Four years on and I still think of them that way. We celebrate each other’s publishing victories and share chocolate and wine when rejections come in. We talk about life, and love, and kids, and romance, and sex. But most of all we talk about writing. How we write, what we write, what we want to write. How to make what we’ve written better, what to leave in a manuscript and what to send to the shredder.
Every single time I leave one of my meetings I am energized to go home and write for hours on end – and I usually do. While I’m driving home plot lines and story arcs fill my head or character traits I need to incorporate into my current heroine sprout up. Once, I plotted an entire novel during the 90-minute drive home from a meeting. The fact that I didn’t crash and die because I was so preoccupied just verifies in my mind the fact that I have Guardian Angels watching out for me.
If you’re like me and you need knowledgeable people to discuss with, bounce ideas off of, or pick the industry minds of, then joining a writing group geared to what you write is – in my mind – the best way to do all those things. One of my favorite days of each month is the day scheduled for my local RWA meeting.
This is an actual picture of me when I’m gearing up for a meeting!!!