Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Reason To Join Professional Writing Organizations

We have said it before and we will say it again. Writing is a lonely and very solitary profession. We spend hours at home, staring at our computer screen with very little social interaction. While the lack of distractions does certainly allow writers the chance to explore their craft, it does prevent that all important networking with other professionals that share their passion.

Writers need to understand that joining organizations is much more than simply getting a magazine each month or hanging out at the national conference. It is about networking. But here is where I do believe far too many authors miss the mark.

When I talk to so many writers about joining these organizations, the most common reason I hear is to get in contact with editors and agents to "make that sale." Although this is certainly a reason for joining, these writers are often missing out on something more important. These organizations are a wealth of information to improve our crafts. It might be information on new techniques to try, new approaches to plotting and yes, even new technology that will assist with getting that story out there to the readers.

The problem is simple. Writers are getting in contact with editors and agents but they are not putting out their best product because they are not using the network to gain that information.

There are also many writers out there that only work in small writing groups. These are those groups that are a bit larger than the standard critique group and often have more of a "local" feel. These groups do have their benefits but, unfortunately, are only as good as the members of the group. In too many cases, these are situations of "the blind leading the blind."

If you are a new writer, the first thing I recommend is to join those groups. Find a group that is seen on the National scene or at least at a large regional level (we're talking multiple states here). The larger the group, the increased chance you get the information that extends from coast to coast. You don't need to go to the major conferences that first year, but plan on it in the immediate future. Get on all the loops and absorb the information.

You might be surprised. Not only will you improve your craft, but you will increase your chances of being successful in this business.

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