Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jan/Feb 2010 SCBWI Bulletin and "The Truth About Writer Friends"

This is the third and final article about the Jan/Feb SCBWI Bulletin.

I love what Teresa V. Mitchum says in the opening of her article "The Truth About Writer Friends." She's considered giving up her writing career, but then she'd have to guit her online writing group. Whew, do I ever understand that shaky thought.

I love my online writing group buddies. We don't have an official name, but that doesn't matter. We've came up with several names I can't even remember. We've become good friends and that's enough. We do take our critiquing seriously, though.

We get and give honest feedback. Some of us are stronger in picture books and others stronger in young adult fiction and everything in between. All of us care deeply about one another and our future as authors. I can say without a doubt we are much stronger writers because of this group.

Teresa Mitchum says she was a little skeptical at first with the group not being physical. I was wondering how our group would work through the Internet, and it was perfect timing for me to join. With two sick relatives to care take, I could no longer do the drive time and be somewhere on a certain day.

The originator of our group is Lynn Becker (I'll post an interview with Lynn next time). I was thrilled and honored that she invited me into the group. Over the eight years since Lynn started the group, we've had three people leave and three more join. Now we have a comfortable group of six ladies that have all been together for four years.

Have some of us been so discouraged we've wanted to quit writing? Yes, indeed. We encourage one another when we worry we'll never see our stories in print, and after all the work and hours we put in. Although, our Terry Pierce has had many books published and is in the midst of working on her MFA. Go, Terry!

Then there's the friend part. We've been a source of encouragement when one of our children leave home, deaths of relatives, and the countless agent and editorial decline letters. And if some need time off, we always give it and keep their spot within the group. Like now, we're saving Terry's spot and one day soon she'll have completed her MFA and return to us.

Until my husband and I moved to Oregon over a year ago, most of us met yearly in person at a workshop in Thousand Oaks, CA. My wonderful group didn't let that stop me from being there in 2009. They carried me around in the form of a photo and someone took our group picture. I was still there in spirit, and I was in the group photo.

Teresa's article hits it on the pin point: "Each of us is committed to making our unique and unconventional group work."

If you have cold feet about an online writing group, I say go for it with commitment. The fringe benefits are many.

Until next time . . .

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