After you’ve signed a contract with an agent and a publisher, why stay involved in local writing groups? I mean, as a newbie, an aspiring author must attend meetings and workshops to develop their craft and learn the business. But after the book comes out, why bother?
I’ve found that staying involved is rewarding because it:
- Fosters community: Do you want other writers to buy and promote your book? Then you must also put time and effort into them. It’s the Golden Rule. If you show that you are a giving person, then others will be more likely to give back. I was recently asked to help promote Alaska Book Week and I’m so excited to be a part of a project that will build more interest in local writers. And make new friends!
- Builds connections: More opportunities will open to you, not just for your writing career but also for learning experiences. If you’re involved in local events, you’ll meet people who can help you reach your goals or give you tips to do things better. A best-selling author recently contacted me to participate in a campaign to launch a new set of historical romance short stories – an opportunity I never would’ve received had I just sat at home concentrating on my own books.
- Keeps you motivated: We’ve all had days where we feel like we’re spinning our hamster wheels and getting no-where. Waiting – for a bite from an agent or publisher, for readers to notice your book and buy it – is tough. We can easily lose sight of why we even wrote it in the first place. I noticed at one point when I got too busy to go to the monthly guild meetings, my spirits sank a bit. Attending a meeting boosted my energy level and made me remember how much I loved writing, that it’s worth the effort.
Staying connected is beneficial to writers in all stages of their careers. Attend meetings with fellow writers. Attend writers conferences, or better yet, volunteer at one. Help with library projects, join a critique group, offer to help language arts programs in schools – it doesn’t matter. Just do something to stay involved!
©Jen Cudmore, 2013
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