Happy Wednesday! Suze here, shoving V out of the way so I can share a guest with you today. As part of our continuing theme of finding a writing community, please welcome Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America (CTRWA) Membership Chair/Secretary, Jennifer Iszkiewicz, who writes erotic romance under the name Mara McDaniels. Here’s what Jennifer has to say:
Several years ago, there was an article on Kristan Higgins in the Record Journaland my friend and coworker brought the article to work for me. “I just thought you’d be interested, since I know how badly you want to write,” she said. “Hooray and thank you!” I replied.
Admittedly, I didn’t know who Kristan was at the time but the article discussed her trajectory from copy editor to on-the-rise romance goddess, as well as her participation in a local writing group, the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America – CTRWA. As it turned out, the group met once a month at the hotel right next door to where I was working!
“This IS serendipitous,” I thought. “After months, years, of writing with only my closest friends as sounding boards, could this be the group of peers I’ve been looking for?”
It was. Though walking into that first meeting was bloody nerve-wracking, Kristan, as acting President, and everybody else in the group of about 30, put me at such ease that I knew I was home. Shirley Webb invited me to sit with her in the restaurant and they all took an interest in what I was doing! I learned that Shirley wrote Young Adult, while another preferred Paranormal. The fact that I talked about erotica and didn’t cause anybody to blush like a vestal virgin was very reassuring.
CTRWA took precedence on my calendar and I set off for the meetings, knowing I was going to learn more about writing than my pea-sized brain was equipped to handle but I went anyway! Through rain, sleet and snow… Eventually my enthusiasm landed me on the Board of Directors and I’m proud to say I’ve been part of the decision making for a group that has grown to over 100 and is truly committed to seeing its membership succeed in their writing endeavors. A success for one is lauded by all.
What started out as a reprieve from my solitary writer’s existence means much more, years later. It allows me to commiserate with fellow writers over the trials and tribulations along the road to publication, while introducing me to cool people from all over the state (and beyond) that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I have participated in the mentorship program, met Eloisa James, pitched my babies to editors and agents and made great friendships that extend beyond monthly meetings.
If you haven’t found a local writer’s group or started a critique group with a few like-minded people, I encourage you to do so. Just when you think you’ve hit the wall or may go numb trying to come up with another way to describe (blank) - think Gene Rayburn from Match Game –
somebody always has a nugget to get you over that hump. Or, they imbibe you with enough chocolate and/or booze that you forget you had a problem in the first place! Happy Writing!
Thanks, Jen/Mara! Scribe followers, what other professional organizations do you belong to? Do they complement your writing?