Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are You Connected?

More often than not Debra skips her local RWA chapter meetings.

I used to be a staunch regular. I never missed a meeting of my local RWA chapter unless I was out of town or had a school conflict. But over the past couple of years, my attendance has gone from regular to sporadic to not at all.

There are always those members in a chapter who are 'inactive'. They belong, but they never come to meetings. I always told myself I would never become one of those. But times change. I've changed.

It's not that I don't like the people in my chapter. They are all lovely, talented, hard-working authors. I honestly feel I would not be published if it weren't for my local RWA chapter. I just feel that I'm not in the same place as many of them anymore. Most of the regular attendees at our meetings are in the pre-published stage. It's not that our published authors are snobs, it's just they have different needs than those not published yet. Most of the hopefully soon-to-be-published writers in my group are 'on their way up' so to say. They're looking for that New York contract.

I've learned that I'm not. I am extremely content writing for a small press as a hobby. At this point, I don't even consider my writing as a second career. I've reshuffled my priorities. And I'm okay with that. And I need my sleep. Our meetings are on Monday nights twice a month and I've discovered that starting the week by getting to bed late is not the way to a happy, non-crabby me.

I still keep up with the goings on of our chapter through e-mails, newsletters, and on-line groups. I attended our bi-annual writers' conference. I've made good friends through my chapter, and we still stay in touch and blog together even if we don't see each other in person as often as we used to.

I have other connections to the writing world as well: this blog, another blog, my publisher's on-line group (Although these days I find I'm deleting far more messages than I'm reading.) So I don't feel totally disconnected. Just a bit more on the out-skirts...but it's by choice, so it's fine.

How do you connect with other writers? Do you belong to a writers' group? I know some of you have talked about critique groups and/or partners. Do you agree when people say writing is primarily a solitary venture? Or on you the side of 'writers don't write in a vacuum'? Do you think of your writing as a career or more of a hobby?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. Debra, this is a fascinating post, which interests me in many different ways, so this is going to be a long reply!
    Your distinction between the pre-published and already published is a very valid one. I discovered that at the one and only RNA conference I attended, when most of the sessions seemed to aimed at the pre-published and were not really much use to the more experienced writers, apart from confirming what we already knew! That's one reason why I shall probably never attend another RNA conference. Another reason is that there was also a distinction (or so it seemed) between those who are published by certain UK publishers, and those of us who are with small American publishers. I won't go into detail, but I did get the impression that I wasn't considered a 'real writer' because of that. I also found the whole thing somewhat 'cliquey' which isn't my scene at all!
    That's not to say that I didn't meet some very nice people, mainly those I had already 'met' on Facebook or in the writers' loops. There is no RNA chapter near me or, to my knowledge, any other writers' groups, at least none specifically for romance writers. My contact with other writers has been built up mainly via FB, and I have also met several of them in 'real' life (including some when I was the USA and Canada in June).
    When I was first writing back in the 1960s and 70s, I didn't know any other writers, so writing was very definitely a solitary occupation. It still is, to a certain extent, but I occasionally share aspects of my writing on FB (as opposed to pure advertising) and find I often get a good response to those, with people making very valid and interesting comments. And of course, I have my critique partners and have found them to be invaluable. I learn from their comments and suggestions about my work, and I also learn by critiquing theirs.
    As for writing being a career or a hobby - well, I'm of an age where I don't need a new 'career'. If I did, I know I would have to work a lot harder at my writing to make enough money to live on! So I'm happy writing my novels, without any thoughts of being the next JK Rowling or EL James!

    1. Wow Paula...that was almost a post unto itself. Loved it.

      I too, have unfortunately met those who don't consider those published with a small press 'real writers'. It makes me sad.

  2. I am very active in FTHRW online chapter. I am presently the chapter secretary, crit loop moderator, and contest committee member. I have made some very good friends, and it is absolutely true that I get by with a little help from my friends.
    I am a member of other online groups. Some I joined to get a reduced rate on a workshop. Others I joined to study how members marketed their books.

    I do not live close enough to a face-to-face group to attend, and have not been able to get one started locally. Romance is looked down upon by local poets and story-tellers.

    I spend time scrolling through chapter loop posts that I could spend writing, but almost every day I find a gem that makes the time worth it.

    1. I was very involved with my group in the past too. I've been President, secretary, and manuscript chair.
      I do agree that every little gem we find is a worthwhile endeavor.

  3. I'm like you, Debra, in that while I belong to my local RWA chapter, I don't attend meetings. I try, but it's hard to devote an entire Saturday to it when there are so many other things I need to do. But I follow everyone on Facebook, and work with my critique partners, and attend our annual conference. I don't participate in the Yahoo loops because those fill my inbox with lots and LOTS of emails that I just don't need. We seem to have a pretty good blend of information for published and unpublished writers, and I learn from everyone.

    1. That's the issue I'm having with the loops lately. Just too much volume in what's coming through.

      I do try to follow my fellow authors on Facebook, but I'll be the first to admit I'm not very faithful at checking everyday. And sometimes on Facebook it's hard to separate the business side from the personal side. I'm sure it's because I don't have my account set up properly.

    2. For Facebook, I have a personal account and an author page and I try to keep things separate. Occasionally the lines get blurred though.