Don’t Go It Alone!

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here.

I'll get you my writers!!

One of the best decisions I ever made was to be brave and attend a writer’s group meeting at my local library. That one small act of courage (okay, maybe big act of courage) led to an even more important, life changing decision – joining my local chapter of the RWA.

Up until that time, my writer’s journey had been riddled with fits and starts. I even stopped writing at one point, largely because I couldn’t seem to finish anything (see my post – Finish What You Start ). Sad to say, it was several years before I completed what eventually became Ascension. My characters weren’t about to let me go so easily. They lurked in the back of my mind, affecting my sleep and making me feel guilty!

Tormented about what to do, I began surfing around the web and found Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Forums and the writer’s board. There, I found the outline methodology that finally broke me out of my funk. I plotted, wrote and finished my book. I was so excited. For the first time in years, I actually slept better.

Two heads are better than one!

Then, came the hard part. I knew that if I wanted to pursue publication, I had to let someone read my book. Gasp!

Doubt, fear, panic all ran through me. And a boat load of what ifs: What if it’s awful? What if my chosen reader doesn’t tell me the truth? Will I end up like all those poor deluded American Idol wannabes (“but my Mom says I’m awesome”).

I asked one of my good friends, someone I knew who would be honest with me, to read my baby (and I’m forever grateful to her!). Once I got over that initial hurdle, I took a flying leap off the cliff and went to a meeting where I didn’t know anyone. After that, I was doling out my book like cards at a poker table. The other great benefit —  I met my fabulous critique partners there.

 

And by fabulous, they tell me the hard truth, they encourage me to challenge myself, they praise when deserved and we all keep each other going. And when you join an organization like the RWA and your local chapter (did I mention CT RWA is awesome), you aren’t on your own anymore. Everyone understands what you’re going through and you can benefit from the wisdom of both published and unpublished authors alike.

And three heads are even better! Cheers Ladies!

Let’s face it, when we write, it’s a lone act. But you don’t have to be alone on your writing journey. Join a group, find trusted readers and get yourself out there. You never know who you will meet!

Tell me – what was the kick in the pants that got you serious about your writing? And if you haven’t joined a group, what is holding you back?

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18 thoughts on “Don’t Go It Alone!”

  1. Hey, those three lovely ladies are drinking sangria in my kitchen!

    My kick was shortly after my friend, the English teacher, said, “Really interesting story, but Paula, you have much to learn about the craft of writing.” I’m so grateful she had the courage to be honest with me. It began my six year journey of studying and learning the craft, writing several manuscripts, and indie publishing three of my YA manuscripts. I would not be where I am if not for finding CT RWA.

  2. Hi Casey,
    I happened to see an author on TV. She was having a workshop for people who wanted to write a book. I had just completed a novel, and I wasn’t sure if I had traveled beyond her workshop. So, I called her. She recommended CTRWA. The first time I walked in the doors (it happened to be Fiction Fest 2010) I was overwhelmed. So many published authors! I have to say, they are all great and willing to give you their time and share their experiences. Great group of people. I’ve made so many friends and learned so much.

  3. I think writers often start off in solitary, an idea bumping around inside their heads. My first manuscript began as my senior thesis in college, so I had a mentor of sorts, who encouraged me to write every week and read and commented. It took me ten years to finish that manuscript – I had no idea authors had to be productive! lol! It wasn’t until I went to the Kachemak Bay Writer’s Conference and met some Alaska RWA members that my writing took off. I never thought I’d be connected to so many other writers. Now I have writer friends across the world!

    1. Tam – do you remember how we met? It was the RWA PRO class on building a website! I am still totally envious of your page’s artwork. And I’m forever grateful for that class. It taught me how to use WordPress and I got to meet you! Double bonus!

  4. I just have to repeat that joining a group — the right group — is FUN. Sure, writing is work, revision is harder work, and that *&??)*& synopsis is hardest of all, but it doesn’t feel like a j-o-b. Does that make sense? I’ve never had so much fun, working so hard, ever. It’s amazing!

    1. Yes, the right group is the key word there. As you, me and J know from experience. Even if you don’t join a formal organization, it’s important to have a few trusted writer friends to keep you motivated and on track. And to hug you when you need it, give you chocolate, make you coffee, and give you rides to meetings. Thanks for all you do Suze. You rock!

  5. You are so right, Casey. Having a group of people to help you on your journey helps. I became more serious about my writing when I joined my RWA chapter. Yes, it is overwhelming to be around others who are published. But I’ve learned so much from them and I wouldn’t reverse my decision to join the FF & P or GDRWA. Thanks for the post.

    1. You’re welcome. Yes, let’s not forget the on-line chapters. They are pretty awesome too. I love FF&P. I feel like I’m among my fellow sci-fi, fantasy junkies! If it wasn’t for FF&P we wouldn’t have met either. 🙂

    1. I can’t write with others around. As J and Suze can attest to, when we three are all together, only talking gets done! I blame myself for that. I have to be alone when I write. Later, when I’m done, then I have no problem sharing my work or discussing craft. I am happy to help others ( I nag) when they need motivation.

  6. My journey started with curiosity about a painter’s life. OMG, did I get involved. I am having the time of my life, not only with the writing, but with all of you around me, the smarties I have met, my critique partner, the critiques from others, the workshops. Titillating.

    1. Gail, it’s been a pleasure to get to know you. I look forward to the meetings each month. Sometimes I wish we could just spend an entire meeting just talking and getting to know everyone better. Maybe at the Marga-RITAs?

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