Like bananas, you’ll find most successful writers in bunches. I know you’ve heard writing is a solitary task. That’s true. Sometimes creativity is a battle better fought alone. Who wants to be around us when we’re pacing the floor, agonizing over whether to write our Great American Novel in first or third person, past or present tense? But without the occasional support of other writers we’d go stark-raving mad and probably self-destruct. We need to know there are more of us struggling out there. We need to find the rest of our bunch.
I personally belong to a number of organizations/critique groups, each one helping me hold my head above water. The Wisconsin Writers Association (“WWA”) and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (“WFOP”) offer conferences and publish regular newsletters where we can share our accomplishments. They also offer creative publications where we can showcase our work: Creative Wisconsin for WWA and the annual calendar for WFOP. I’ve been included in both.
Then there’s the Romance Writers of America (“RWA”), the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America (“WisRWA”), and our local WisRWA chapter in Chippewa Falls. They also offer conferences and news about members, as well as industry updates and the opportunity to compete for prizes for both published and unpublished works.
If it’s artistic feedback I seek, I belong to two wonderful critique groups. Locally there’s the Northern Lakes Writers Guild in Amery. While they’re open to any form of writing, I predominantly avail upon their expertise for my poetry. The group leader is a wonderful published poet and I’ve grown tremendously under his guidance. For fiction, I always return to a group of women I met with monthly for almost thirty years while living in Rochester, New York. This year they’ve provided me with sometimes brutally honest but always insightful comments as I’ve bombarded them with chapter after chapter of my historical romance “Mary Bishop”, and my book is better for it.
I don’t know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have my fellow bananas to periodically remind me that I’m not alone, and that not every word that flows from my brain onto paper is the word of God etched in stone. No matter how beautiful and inspired, sometimes they just have to go…thanks to my bunch.