Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America
Ann, Jenn, and I attended the monthly meeting of the Northwest Houston chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) last Saturday. I don’t write romance, as you should know by now. If there’s no dragon in sight, I didn’t write it. And I’m not kinky enough to make that work in the paranormal romance category. The meeting, however, was free and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this particular organization.
FREE being the magical word here. So, I gathered my posse. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. At least, I amuse myself.) As soon as we walked in the door, the board members greeted us like old friends. As the meeting got started, each chair rose to introduce herself (and one himself). Unsurprisingly, the vast majority wrote romance. Duh. Quite a few also wrote in other categories including historical fiction, women’s lit, and suspense. Every story has a love story, right? (With the exception of middle grade and picture books, I suppose.) Whenever anyone had an accomplishment to share, everyone clapped and showed great support. It’s invigorating to be among a group who encourages its members so vigorously.
I became so excited, I participated in the raffle for a basket of love. The money brought in goes to… an organization I can’t recall. It was something with children and literacy. That was enough information for me. They have a box where you put in a dollar and set a goal for next month. If you meet your goal (honor system, of course), you get the money collected. It could be considered gambling or it could be considered accountability. I prefer the latter. (One of my goals was write three blogs. I’m a third of the way there. Woot!)
We adjourned to a table full of deliciousness. Feed them and they will come. The members brought food from fruit platters to homemade coffee cake. Next time, I’m not eating breakfast. Naturally, there were greetings by members and lots of “Hello, nice to meet you.” I adore getting together with writers. I had the privilege to meet a colleague who works on multiple projects at the same time like I do.
After break, the ladies presented three short talks about productivity, plotting, and goal setting. I loved having craft related information along with the business meeting. Learning from the more experienced authors as I head in their direction encourages me to keep going. Turns out, the speakers were not a unique aspect featured at the first meeting of the year. Every monthly meeting includes speakers and/or workshops. Talk about getting your money’s worth.
The best part? Post clean-up-the-clubhouse, about half of the attendees ate lunch together at a local restaurant. THIS is the reason I do these things. We got to talk more in depth about writing and publishing. We shared roadblocks that stop our progress. We talked about little tricks to keep the words flowing. We laughed at fun moments during beta reads. Writing can be isolating. When you’re surrounded by people who are experiencing the same things you are, both joy and frustration, you realize you are NOT alone.
If you are still sitting at your desk or by yourself at Panera, an island in a sea of people who don’t understand what it is you are trying to do, find your group. Search online for local writing groups. Seek out a critique group to share your words with. Attend a convention to rub elbows with fellow struggling writers. Discover that it’s not just you. We’ve all been there. The boost in confidence can lead to much more progress than a few stories of successful writers featured in the news.
Hope to see you soon!