I started writing seven years ago and it was a lonely little biz for the first couple of years. Just me and my imagination and dreams. And that was okay for awhile. But soon I knew I needed to take courses, learn more, get critiques, talk to others who knew more and who were going through the same things. I got support and encouragement from my family, sure, but they didn't know what I was so passionate about. I needed others who understood. I needed a writing family.
I joined the Toronto Romance Writers group about five years ago because, at the start of this journey I thought that was what I wanted to write. An awesome, supportive and knowledgeable organization (chapter of the Romance Writers of America)whose members are a variety of people at various stages in the writing journey from first time "I think I'd like to write a book" newbies to seasoned, prolific NY Times Bestseller professionals. They gave support encouragement and, most importantly, chocolate for successes and set backs. And they run a great contest too. I will always be a member of this group. First love, ya know.
Then, when writing for teens became my focus and passion I joined the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)as well as an online community of YA and children's writers called the Blueboarder's at Verla Kay's Children's and Illustrators website. Again, so much support and experience and wisdom to be found there. People share their down times, their frustrations and their successes. It kept my sanity many a time as Illegally Blonde was on submission.
And now I've found a group of Canadian authors of YA/MG fiction, members of CANSCAIP (which I've just joined)who are enthusiastic, supportive, and funny in the Toronto area. I'm looking forward to getting to know more of these great local writers. I've also been incredibly lucky to have recently gotten a chance to get to talk to an author whose work I admire even though it is not in the same genre as mine yet he's been so generous as to speak about me and my book to others and share his enthusiasm about it just because he's that kind of writer.
Sharing, caring and support. No matter who I've met in the various writing communities I've joined, this is what I've found. I've been lucky, I know, but I really think that 99 per cent of writers are like this.
And really.What more can the perfect family give you?