When I decided I was going to get "serious" about my writing, the first thing I did was join a local RWA chapter. My chapter, Chicago-North RWA, has been instrumental on my road to becoming a published author. I cannot express enough gratitude to the wonderful ladies and gentlemen of C-N throughout the years who have offered support, encouragement, and advice. I firmly believe if I'd never joined this group, I wouldn't be a published author today. We have an out-of-this-world critiquing program, and each new book I start comes to the chapter for a critique. With this process, each and every new book gets off on the right foot.
And, if you're going to belong to a local RWA chapter, you need to belong to the National organization. Through this I've learned of contests and conferences which have given me other outlets to have my work critiqued and learn about craft. The RWR comes each month and contains articles and other information.
When I became a published author, I joined several loops, which I use mostly for promotion, but also to keep in touch with other authors. Unfortunately, these days a busy schedule doesn't permit me to spend as much time visiting these loops as I'd like, but I still keep my "membership".
Staying connected is key in this business, as is finding those who will support and encourage. I don't know what I'd do without my fellow Chicago-Northers.
Until next time,