A Place in the Sun

Goddess of the type...This week the Scribes are sharing what joining a writer’s organization means to us. Please stay with us all week to see our stories.

This year I became a writer. What makes one a writer? I don’t know. For everybody it’s different. But for me I became a writer when I decided to stop sitting on my hands and get my work out into the world.

I had no idea how to go about that. I did a little research discovered that no, I could not just send my manuscripts off to the big six and expect a book deal. (Sigh.) I also learned that a literary agent might be helpful but soon discovered that they weren’t very easy to get. So, for a long time I did nothing,afraid to send out my work for fear of rejection. I was at a loss. I took solace in reading my favorite authors and imaging that one day my book would be on a shelf near their’s.

Shortly thereafter I noticed that one of my favorite romance writer’s had the words RITA Award winner next to her name, actually many of my favs did. What the heck was a RITA? All I could think of my elementary school bus driver, who wore ice blue eye shadow and had a nasty smoker’s cough. So I googled it (Thank God for google) and discovered that a RITA is an award given out by the Romance Writers America or the RWA. An organization for writers? Sign me up! I joined, immediately forgetting about that new pair of boots I was salivating over.

I started getting their magazine (the RWR or Romance Writers Report) every month. Which I would read cover to cover, taking in all the advice my brain could hold. One month they announced the recipients of the RITA and in the contemporary section the winner was Kristan Higgins. I had never read her work before and thought the cover was cute so I ordered it, enjoyed it and put it aside. A couple of months later in the contest section of the RWR I noticed one called The Write Stuff  and after I stopped singing New Kids on the Block,(You got the right stuff, baby…) I entered. I needed feedback on my writing and knew that the winners of these contests got their work seen by an editor.I thought I would give it a shot.

Months later I got my scores back. One judge gave me really fantastic constructive criticism that got me thinking about my work in a way that I never thought possible. And when I scrolled down to see who this person was, it was none other than the fabulous, beautiful, awesome shoe wearing Kristan Higgins. I was so excited that I called my mom and told her about it.

To which she replied, “Who’s that?”

Putting aside my frustration with my mother’s lack of knowledge , I sent Kristan an email thanking her for her comments and asking her for some writerly advice. It was through her I learned of my local chapter of the RWA, an organization I never thought of joining. It was there I met fellow newbie and Scribe, J Monkeys, the mastermind of this excellent blog.

I was nervous at my first meeting. But when I walked through those doors I felt a type  kindness and support that I didn’t know was possible. I was always that kid who didn’t fit into one group. I never had a place where I felt I truly belonged but that all changed when I found them. For once I was in place where people wanted me to succeed and I wanted the same thing for them.

This is my love letter to them so to speak. So thank you to the President who loses so much of her writing time to make out chapter thriving. And thank to the Vice President who brings us the programs that make us better writers. And thank you to the author that introduced me to this group. And thank you to all the members who went out of their way to make me feel like I belonged.

So why join a writer’s organization? Knowledge. Support. Friendship. Who couldn’t use a little of that?

Your turn! Are you a apart of your local writer’s group? If not, what’s up with that? Share your thoughts, stories and comments. We love hearing from you.

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7 thoughts on “A Place in the Sun”

  1. Jamie, I’m so glad you took the leap and joined our group. I think throughout this week, we’ll all have similar moments to report where taking that plunge led us to bigger and better things. My world has grown so much bigger and better since I joined CT RWA. And the Scribes has been the cherry on top. So thank you all!

  2. Jamie, I can’t wait to see one of your books in print! Be bold and keep writing and submitting, girl. Something is bound to stick. Don’t worry about rejection. It’s just part of the gig. With every rejection letter I got, I thought…Well, obviously this isn’t the agent or editor for me. And then I worked my query and synopsis some more to make it better for the next round.

    What helps a lot is realizing that no one who loves you will love you any less no matter what happens with your writing career. In a writer’s group, they’ll love you even more for being brave and persistent. There is something so inspiring about seeing someone beat the odds and succeed. We are all behind you.

    Stay tuned for my RWA journey tomorrow. Writing Success Doesn’t Happen in the Vacuum of Space.

  3. I have never found a more supportive group as the CTRWA and I’m proud to be a member. It is filled with talented memebers who share their knowledge and friendship. So glad I found them. Marian

  4. Hi Jamie,
    Let’s see. For me what happened was I had written a novel. I had no idea what I was doing or how to go about getting it out there. I didn’t even know if it was any good. I happened to watch Connecticut Style and author, Sandi Kahn Shelton was on. She was offering a class for people who wanted to write a novel. Not knowing if was too far beyond that, I called her. She was wonderful and she recommended CTRWA to me. Great. I was going to the next meeting. The next meeting happened to be Fiction Fest, and I was hooked. CTRWA is comprised of a great group of people, who are never too busy to give you their time. Not only am I continuing to learn from them, but I have also made a bunch of great friends. And who knows, I might even get published in the process.

  5. It’s gonna be one great big Love Fest all week here at the Scribes! Group hug, everybody! Great post Jamie. I’m so grateful we all found each other.

  6. Oh Boy, a perfect chance to give huge hugs and thank you’s to Kristan and Toni. They spoke at my local library in Fairfield in February 2010. Afterwards I asked how to get help writing a book. They chimed “join CTRWA.” That answer changed the direction of my life. I joined this amazing group of writers willing to share the knowledge of writing. And now I have lots more of the group to thank for holding my hand on my continuing journey writing my book and my blog. Thank you group at CTRWA. And you too Jamie for giving me a special opportunity to make the grateful noises.

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