Tag Archive for writer support

In Praise of Writer Buddies

Posted on riverchildbooks.com   November 9, 2014 by Alice Robb

I’m a hermit scribbler, alone in my cluttered office, pecking out my sentences, paragraphs, blogs, letters, stories, novels, memories. Scrawling, sometimes almost illegibly, in my diaries, making outlines, lists, charts. I maintain this essential myth because I need solitude to engage in those satisfying activities. To write requires nothing but the tools (computers and software, pens and paper), an alert mind, my comfy chair, and my dog and mother to force the occasional breaks that keep my body from bonding permanently to the furniture.

Yet, as far back as the Seventies, while I wrote my still-born novel, I craved the company of other writers. I was so nervous and excited the first time I attended a writer’s group. I was out of my league. The focus in that group was on finding publishers; what to write that would sell was their big topic. Mid-novel, I needed to write, not to learn marketing. Not the group for me.

Later, at college, I took workshop style writing classes, and learned the etiquette of issuing and receiving polite critical feedback. Other small writing groups, often with a poetry focus, emphasized appreciation, favoring oohs and ahs over questions and critiques. Working at a community center, I facilitated writing groups. Again, there was lots of praise, often for memoir topics that sometimes put me to sleep. By this time, I’d finished my comedian novel and was starting my third novel. I recognized my need for a writing community, but hadn’t found the right one yet.

A few years ago, I began venturing out of my hermit shell. I talked to friends and acquaintances whom I knew to be writers. Over coffee, we discussed our word-loving lives in general, at great length. What a relief to know other people were experiencing the same joys and frustrations. Needing writing pals, I tried a little critique group that wasn’t the right fit for about a year; when it folded, I was relieved. Taking writing classes at the community college, I discovered a large active local group of writers and publishers. I began attending their monthly dinners. Anti-social as I am, I wrestled myself into going, month after month. You need this, I told my hermit self. I talked to strangers, some annoying but most pleasant and helpful. I made friends.

Then, magic! A tiny new group began to meet; gradually, we’ve coalesced into a trusting enthusiastic foursome of skilled writers. We meet every two weeks. Praising, questioning, and suggesting changes, we work through one another’s novels in progress. We are more than readers; we’re happily involved in one another’s stories.

More magic! I’m doing caregiving work now for an elderly writer friend; we bonded long ago over our craft. And, then! a dear long-lost friend moved back to town; turns out, we’ve both been writing all these years. We have a pair of well-matched writing projects, both in need of some meta-editing. Totally thrilling! I have writer friends, a critique group, and writer partners! I’m in writer-buddy heaven!

Author Bio:

alice robb

Alice Turtle Robb has been writing since early childhood, and has two novels almost ready for publication. One of her novels is about a woman comedian. The other is about a lady with Alzheimer’s who gets lost in Seattle for three days.  She has a BA entitled The Art of Communication; Writing, Talking, and Laughing from Washington University, Fairhaven College. She has also worked for twenty years as a professional caregiver. 

Road Map to Writing Your Book in 2013

Do you want to join our “Road Map to Writing Your Book in 2013” group? It’s free! And it’ll be fun.

Here’s what you’ll get:

Phone Conference Call to Help You Create Your Goals! The first thing you’ll need to do to move forward in your writing this year is to create reasonable, achievable goals. Cami will be offering a one-hour complementary workshop on how to create goals and identify benchmarks that contribute to success. All you have to do to participate is call into the bridge line on Wednesday, January 30 at 7pm (PST) to get help in creating your writing goals and the benchmarks along the way that will help you know you’re making progress. At the call-in time, just dial: (512) 400-4807, and the code is 8745197#. You may want to have the goals sheet handy that we passed out at the Writers’ Resolutions workshop. Here it is again. (There will be regular long-distance charges for the call.)

Connect with Each Ohter on the Google Group Created for You :You will be invited to a group discussion on Google. This is a place that only members can log into (so you have to get invited, don’t forget) to communicate with one another to talk about their struggles, ideas, strategies… whatever! Google is fabulous AND sometimes a little hard to get into. Here’s how:

  1. Log into your google/gmail account (if you don’t have one, sign up–it’s free
  2. Go to www.google.com.
  3. At the top of the screen you’ll see a black strip with several options.
  4. Click on “More.”
  5. Then click on “Even More”
  6. Now scroll down to “social” and you’ll see “groups.”
  7. Click on that.
  8. On the right side of your screen, you’ll see your group.
  9. OR–try this link once you’ve been added to the list: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups=#!forum/rwb-novel-writers

Connect with Each Other on the Google Group Created for You: You’ll also be invited to this group, as well. You’ll find it the same way as you find the group, but at step 4, click “Drive” instead of “More.” You’ll see the document under “Shared with me” on the left side of your screen.

Come to RWB Happy Hours! 

We meet in the lobby of the Pickford Film Center the first Saturday of every month at 4pm. Bring something to read that you’re working on (no more than 5 mins) and some money to pitch in for drinks/snacks. This is a great way to celebrate the fact that we’re working writers!

One-Day Workshop on Revising Your Work: This is an option you won’t want to miss. You’ll get instruction from award winning novelist, Laura Kalpakian regarding what to look for in revising your work. Details will be forthcoming (date, time, location, cost), but we are shooting for May. Stay tuned.

June Check-In Meeting at Village Books: Also in the works is a free check in with everyone in the group in June at Village Books. We’ll keep you posted about date and time on this one as we get closer too.

December Celebration: Yes, we’ll be celebrating progress! And you should come no matter how far you’ve gotten or which of your benchmarks you hit on time. Details TBD.

Let’s get it done this year, writers! Email Cami with questions: clostman@live.com. And sign up below to get on the “Road Map to Writing Your Book in 2013.”