Greetings from contemporary fiction author, Deborah Vogts. If you're reading this, chances are you are part of the writing profession, and you understand how this activity fills nearly every nook and cranny of your life in one way or another. Because of this, it's easy for our lives to become lopsided, neglecting one or more ingredients that will make them richer, and will actually enhance our ability to "write" more effectively.
This month, I want to consider the importance of spending time with other people--or more specifically, other writers.
When I became serious about my writing, I took two important steps. I joined an online writer's group (ACFW), and I also joined a local writing group that met once a month at a nearby library.
Why were these steps so important? As writers, we spend a lot of time alone in front of a computer, with only our words and our imagination to keep us company. While this can be quite fun at times, it is also a very solitary business.
Joining a writing group helped me in the following ways:
* It gave me someone to talk to who understood the writing life (and all those strange people in my head.)
* It offered me a place to go when I had a writing question or concern. It also gave me a chance to learn new techniques, as well as to learn from those who had more experience and wisdom in the writing world.
* It gave me a place to share my work, to receive reader impressions and/or critiques, and it allowed me to reciprocate by helping others with their work. At one time, I belonged to an online critique group with four other women, and each of us were submitting a chapter a week. This turned out to be one of my greatest learning experiences ever.
* It allowed me a chance to be involved in a writer conference--to attend as a member, as well as to help organize. Conferences are wonderful opportunities to meet other writers and business professionals, and also further friendships made online or at monthly meetings.
* Because both groups were Christian organizations, they were also places I could ask for prayer and spiritual support. Being a part of such groups has blessed me in so many ways. Many of the people I've met have turned in to some of my greatest friendships.
While I gain tremendous benefits from the online group, I am so glad to have regular contact from the local group. There is something very special in knowing I have a monthly date on my calendar, when I can visit my local writing group, face-to-face, or even to go out for a bite to eat and talk about writing--one of my favorite things.
So, to all my writer friends out there--you are a blessing to me. Thank you for your friendship. If you don't belong to a writing group, I encourage you to get out there and join one. A great place to find regional, local or online groups is the Christian Writer's Market Guide by Sally Stuart.
Next month, I'll chat with you about another part of a writer's time--time for readers. Until then, enjoy the moments . . .
Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in SE Kansas. Visit her Author Website to learn more about her writing and her books in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series.