November and December mean the holidays are upon us once more, which means the gathering of family and friends to feast upon foodstuffs and good company, which can also apply to CR-RWA meetings. How so? Glad you asked (even if you didn’t.) The reasons are many, but let’s take a look at a few:
- A common interest: Writing can often be a solitary profession, and for those of us (probably most of us) who don’t live in a commune comprised entirely of other career-minded writers, finding those who speak our language is vital. No matter the tone, subgenre or what stage of the journey we may be, the first-time writer and the multi-published still have that love of writing binding them together.
- Encouragement: One of my favorite parts of every CR-RWA meeting is hearing the member news and what everybody is working on at present. The cheers and applause for sales, finished books and great reviews always raise the energy in the room. For those who are having a less than great month, there’s encouragement there, as well. There’s always somebody to talk out sticky situations, offer practical advice or point the way to a useful resource.
- Expanded Horizons: With a wide variety of members, from inspirational to erotic, historical to contemporary, paranormal, mystery, YA and more, at all levels of experience, there’s no end to the new sources we can draw from to enrich our own writing. That also allows us to expand our own reading horizons, get new perspectives, recommendations, and maybe even new directions for the future, not to mention lots of members’ books to add to our to be read lists.
- Challenge: As all family gatherings have their challenges, so does belonging to a professional writers’ organization. Changes in bylaws can raise questions as well as spark discussions for the board and membership at large. Monthly goals help to keep us on track and inspire us to reach farther each month than we did before. Reading writing craft books together, discussing them, and working through the exercises strengthens our storytelling muscles, allowing us to do more than we could before. Best of all, we’re not doing it alone. Our chapter sisters and brothers are right there with us, striving toward the same goal. Board positions and committees give us the opportunities to give back to the chapter as we learn some new skills and use our current expertise.
- Community: Regular chapter meetings are like going home for the holidays. We get to see familiar faces, get current on who’s doing what, and welcome new members who will only make our CR-RWA family bigger and better. Meetings are where we get a chance to network, unload, learn, make friends, form partnerships, and spend time with others all focused on serious pursuit of a writing career. It’s a writer’s support group, every month, with something for everybody, and every member has something important to offer this unique and vibrant group.
Painting in broad strokes above, because every member’s experience is going to be different. For me, what I cherish most this holiday season (and all year round) about this chapter is that it gave me a chance to find my tribe. I’d moved to the Capitol Region from out of state two years ago, leaving behind one hundred percent of my in-person writing support network. Yikes is not the word for taking a leap that big, but I knew, from my first meeting, that I’d come to the right place to start this next chapter in my writing life. Pun intended.
So, dear chapter sisters and brothers, what do you look forward to most every time our merry band gathers?