Friday, January 28, 2011

The Benefits of Writer's Groups

One thing that has helped me a lot with getting motivated and staying motivated this past year has been writer's groups.  I joined two local writer's groups within a few months of attending the Pikes Peak Writer's conference: Pikes Peak Writer's and the National League of American Pen Women (which is not just for writer's, but also other artists and creative types, including musicians and photographers).  Each of these groups offers something different and both have monthly workshops/meetings that help with the craft.

One benefit of these writer's groups is that they provide a venue for writers to get together and chat about their craft, toss around ideas and attend classes. Being around other writers, whether they're just starting, are successful, or are in the same place I am, has been an inspiration to me and a great help.  I've found that they're very nice people, with many of them being eager to help other writers/authors.  There are some great helpful blogs out there, which I will eventually put on here.

To attend the NLAPW meetings, you need to become a member (or know someone who is and can bring you as a guest to certain specified events).  They're a national group, so you can find a local chapter here:

Pikes Peak Writer's offers free sessions you can attend called Write Brains, but they are located in Colorado Springs only.  You can visit their site at:  Click on "Write Brains" under "Events".

If you want to find something local, contact your local library district.  They tend to have author events, writing classes and the like.  The local Pikes Peak Library District has an improv writing workshop once per month, for instance, as well as a free mini-seminar for writers once per year.

Also, try searching online for anything writer/author-related in your city.  Once you start looking, it is surprising how much comes up.  Nearby cities may also have something worth looking into.  For instance, Manitou Springs does a lot with local authors and has their own writer's conference, as do other Colorado cities.  Getting out there with like-minded people can really give you a boost and get you revved up for your own progress.  It has helped me considerably!

Progress Note: I figured, since this was to keep me honest and push me, that I should include a note on my progress at the bottom of my entries.  I'm almost finished with my second edit and have made notes of a character I want to change throughout the novel, as well as some particular character interactions I want to change.  It's morphing and developing the more I go through it, and I'm finding that editing is challenging and, while not as fun as the writing, it does have its own element of enjoyment.  I try to read through it in snippets, because I find myself engrossed, which is a good sign, right?  Eventually, when I have it at a good place, I will see about reading it straight through to see if anything grabs me as I go through, either good or bad.  I'm hoping to give a couple volunteer readers the manuscript sometime around Valentine's Day.  Exciting!

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