Saturday, May 26, 2012
A Gathering of Inky Sisters
We met through the now-dissolved Southern Indiana Writers' Salon, a group I co-founded in 2001. Since SIWS's demise early in 2010, some former members--I among them--have felt a bit like a motherless child, wanting to start another group, but hesitant to take the risks of such an undertaking. You see, SIWS did not end well, but that's a subject for different blog entry.
Clustered around my dining room table, we shared current projects, nibbled on fresh veggies and still-warm oatmeal cookies, and exercised our problem-solving skills to address rough spots in our writing. Beyond that, we encouraged and inspired one another. (Hey, oft-pubbed Ramona K. Cecil came up with the name for the novella I'm working on--and that was within five minutes of her arrival!)
Most important, we hold one another in prayer. We seek God's guidance in our writing, our meeting, and our families.
We are a diverse band. Ramona writes historical romance fiction and poetry. Kathi Linz writes whatever suits her fancy. She is an information specialist at our local library, so her interests are like a sunburst, pointing off in many directions. Most of her writing, both fiction and non-fiction, is for children. Natalie Bray, who participates in Renaissance festivals, writes in the genre of speculative fiction, the sub-genre of fantasy. As she unfolds the many layers of her current work, the room becomes crowded with strange, unimaginable creatures, dragons, monsters, courageous heroes and silver-haired heroines. I write middle-grade novels and some poetry. I'm also working on a historical novella and some children's magazine pieces.
So what is the future of this new aggregate of wordsmiths? That vision is still under construction. But this we know. We will maintain our Christian identity. Further, we will remain a small, informal gathering of inky friends, running no notices in the newspaper inviting others to join us. Does that mean we would not accept more writers to our circle? Certainly not. But we won't advertise toward that end.
Writing often is an isolated endeavor. Sure, we leave our writer's caves to conduct research and to be active members of our families, churches and communities, but the actual nitty-gritty work of our craft usually is done apart from the gaping crowd. Nonetheless, we need our fellow scribes. I highly recommend participating in writers' organizations, online communities, and critique groups, but don't neglect the face-to-face meetings, also. We say it often because it's true: Iron sharpens iron.
Your Turn: Do you belong to a local writers' group? What have you gained from participation? What advice or warnings would you give to others considering starting such a group? Please respond by leaving a "Comment."