Write Drunk, Edit Sober
After I got an agent, someone suggested I join the RWA and chapters that pertained to my writing. All right. Not exactly a cheap endeavour, but what the hell. I joined RWA, quickly became PRO, and jumped on board my local chapter, the Contemporary group, and most recently KOD. For the longest time, I honestly didn’t understand the benefit other than having the prestige of slapping it on my bio. I joined the online loops, checked the forum, etc, but didn’t see much that would help me out. Not that the workshops aren’t awesome, but they all cost, whether you’re part of the chapter or not. The fees just change. I am the epitome of starving artist. Full time student, husband working and going to school, robbing Peter to pay Paul when it comes to bills, etc. So paying $20 here and $30 there adds up quick. So, for me, it was really hard to become apart of anything just because of circumstance.
Finally, having a little extra money, a little extra time, and the motivation of finally meeting Rhonda Helms in the flesh, I went to my local chapter meeting.
Then I understood.
From the moment I walked in these wonderful people reached out, introduced themelves, asked about me, made me feel like I belonged there. I have never felt so welcomed into a group of people. Business cards were exchanged, invites to critique groups, digital ARC’s offered. The people are simply amazing. The forums and workshops are great, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t really feel connected until I went to a meeting. It’s finding the companionship, the warmth of a group, and knowing that you’re not struggling in this crazy industry alone.
Sure, we have our online communities, our blogs, our CP’s that we email, IM, and Skype when we’re stressed, but there’s still something about having that face to face meeting with someone. Something about knowing if I’m stuck, or out of luck on a place to write, I can call up someone and be like, “Dude, I need to come over!”
Seriously, after the meeting, I wound up staying in the area because it was moot to go home and come back to pick up my husband–who works right across the street–so I went to his job, and chilled in the pantry to write. Why not? No one around, wifi available, and it was comfortable. I posted on Twitter and one of the girls from the meeting saw it, and offered for me to come to her place. The hubs was getting off fifteen minutes later, so it was a bit moot, but the offer was very generous.
I truly did not understand the ultimate benefit of writing organizations until I went to a meeting for my local chapter. It can be a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know anyone, but if your local chapter is anything like mine, then without a doubt it won’t take long for you to feel comfortable and get to know everyone. I know sometimes it can be hard to pry ourselves away from the computer because we want to get those words down, but meeting speakers who have great information on the industry, networking with local authors, and just realizing that–as much as it sometimes feels like we’re alone–we’re really not.
That alone is worth the cost.