July 25, 2012

Social Time ~ An Author's Time

This summer I'm sharing a series of articles I wrote on An Author's Time. Today I want to consider the importance of spending time with other people--or more specifically, other writers.

When I became serious about my writing, I took two important steps. I joined ACFW, an online writer's group, and I also joined a local writing group that meets once a month at a nearby library.
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Why were these steps so important? As writers, we spend a lot of time alone in front of a computer, with only our words and our imagination to keep us company. While this can be quite fun at times, it is also a very solitary business.
Joining a writing group helped me in the following ways:
* It gave me someone to talk to who understood the writing life (and all those strange people in my head.)
* It offered me a place to go when I had a writing question or concern. It also gave me a chance to learn new techniques, as well as to learn from those who had more experience and wisdom in the writing world.
* It gave me a place to share my work, to receive reader impressions and/or critiques, and it allowed me to reciprocate by helping others with their work. At one time, I belonged to an online critique group with four other women, and each of us were submitting a chapter a week. This turned out to be one of my greatest learning experiences ever.
* It allowed me a chance to be involved in a writer conference--to attend as a member, as well as to help organize. Conferences are wonderful opportunities to meet other writers and business professionals, and also further friendships made online or at monthly meetings.
* Because both groups were Christian organizations, they were also places I could ask for prayer and spiritual support. Being a part of such groups has blessed me in so many ways. Many of the people I've met have turned in to some of my greatest friendships.
While I gain tremendous benefits from the online group, I am so glad to have regular contact from the local group. There is something very special in knowing I have a monthly date on my calendar, when I can visit my local writing group, face-to-face, or even to go out for a bite to eat and talk about writing--one of my favorite things.
So, to all my writer friends out there--you are a blessing to me. Thank you for your friendship. If you don't belong to a writing group, I encourage you to get out there and join one. A great place to find regional, local or online groups is the Christian Writer's Market Guide by Sally Stuart.
Next week, I'll chat with you about another part of a writer's time--time for readers. Until then, enjoy the moments . . .
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