I have a confession to make. I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (aka SCBWI) for nefarious reasons: it looked good on a query letter. And the official badge on my website would show I was a SERIOUS writer.
I wasn’t totally using SCBWI for its clout. I did check out the website, made the obligatory member profile then told myself that organizations like this were for published writers, not unknowns like me. I was okay with that because after a few years of living the writing-is-a-lonely-endeavor cliché, I’d joined a few writers’ groups, attended seminars, classes and conferences, and made writing friends. I didn’t need SCBWI. I just needed the membership.
There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Writers know that. I have never met a writer who does not crave to be alone. We have to be alone to do what we do.
But I began to sense that something was missing in my writing life. I belonged to a great critique group, but I was the only YA writer, and I was the only person actively pursuing traditional publishing. It was lonely being the only one.
So, I went back to the SCBWI website and found a group of members that met monthly in my area. I started attending their meetings and getting involved. It has made all the difference. Getting to know so many other children’s writers has been an exhilarating experience—there are others like me!
It’s not just about getting to know other writers, though. I’ve learned so much about the craft and the different avenues of publishing. And I’ve gotten invaluable insight from other writers sharing the ups and downs of their journeys. I’ve learned that crafting picture books is an art. And that PB writers are louder than YA writers (in southeastern Michigan, at least.)
No matter what genre you write, or where you are in your writing journey, there is a group, association or organization that’s right for you. You deserve to be a part of it.
Here’s a list of a few organizations (for people whose passion involves words, writers are extremely fond of acronyms):
American Christian Fiction Writers (AFCW)
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
Historical Novel Society (HNS)
Mystery Writers of America (MWA)
National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW)
Nonfiction Authors Association (NFAA)
Romance Writers of America (RWA)
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
For a more comprehensive list, go to Writer’s Relief.
Be sure to stop by next week. I’ll be confabulating with literary agent Brent Taylor of the Triada Agency.