Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Are you a writer? Then You Need a Group!
Diane Estrella and I at the Upstate New York Christian Writers' Gathering. Diane was the first member of our writer's group. See her website at www.DianeEstrella.com. She is an amazing writer and friend.
Words are powerful. As writers of books or blogs or facebook comments or tweets, what we say influences the world. Our thoughts matter and we need to write our best to make our points clear.
Writers are warned not to publish without allowing other eyes to read what they wrote. Eyes you trust; eyes that will be honest and not flatter. Beware of family members who may be a bit biased about your story.
I am blessed by my writer's group. We call ourselves a group because we admit to needing therapy--counselling, encouragement, and a safe place to voice our frustrations and our joys. We don't like the word, "critique" because we want to encourage each other without being critical.
After last year's Upstate New York Christian Writers' Gathering held at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center, I put the word out that I would like to meet with other writers. Our group has grown from four to eight and is one of the highlights of my month. Two travel 1 1/2 hours to attend.
A lot of talent and energy fill my family room during our meeting. The stories written are heart-wrenching tales the world needs to read. For 2 1/2 hours we laugh, cry, pray, suggest, correct, edit, praise, and marvel at each other's work.
If you are a writer, it is essential you find or start a group. Here's how to keep it simple:
1. Invite writers! They are out there and they have friends who write.
2. Adopt an easy format:
Our evening begins with 30 minutes of coffee and conversation. Announcements are made regarding rejections, submissions, anything learned since last month regarding the publishing industry, any good or bad news regarding your writing, etc.
Afterwards, each person is given 15 minutes to use as they choose. (I'm the official time keeper, otherwise known as, "Sarge.")
During the 15 minutes, someone else may read aloud what you are writing and then edits, comments, suggestions, corrections, and praises are discussed. It is helpful if every person has a copy of your work in hand while it is being read.
Or, you can use your 1/4 of an hour to ask questions. One used her time to ask how to set up a blog. We all helped her and now her blog is up and running.
If you want to pass on your 15 minutes, you can give it to the person of your choosing.
3. Watch the publications begin! I was in a writer's group in Horseheads, NY. After three years every person attending was a published author. In my Rome group,in one year we have seen some published because of contacts made and suggestions given at our Writer's group.
I thank God for the gift of writing. I thank Him for the stories He gave to us all. No one can write your story, but you. Won't you consider writing? Won't you use your pen to reach the world for Christ?
I'll be teaching "A Writer Speaks!" at two writer's conferences this summer. The Upstate New York Christian Writers' Gathering at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center, Rome, NY, July 7-8. Contact Debbie Tuthill for details and registration: email@example.com or telephone at 607-829-8531. And on August 10-13 at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference. See www.writehisanswer.com for more info. Hope to see you there!
Writing is a Splash of Serenity to the writer's and the reader's soul!