Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why Belong to Writers' Organizations?

Not just because the art/job/calling of being a writer is a lonely place.

Most of us like company. We relish our solitude, but we are also pack animals. It's what runs countries, schools, celebrations, companies - all the rites of life on this blessed planet.

Joining a group of fellow writers does give episodes of relief from aloneness.

Membership in an organized tribe that promotes the craft and business, far above the limits one's selfdom could plug into.

We get gemutlichkeit, that congeniality and warm cordiality not found at a solitary machine, that no matter how many bells and whistles it boasts of, can't give us a smile, a hug, or a warm greeting – "Great to see you here tonight!"

Not only the human bonding, both collegial and competitive, but the prestige. "I'm a member of ... MWA... SinC... ITW... "or many others... That lift of the head, inner pride. You rub shoulders with the great -- who are often as plain and unassuming and scared of the blank page as you are!

You get to meet and greet and share table space with giants of the industry, including agents, editors, reviewers, new readers.

You get mind expansion - knowledge of and exposure to other styles and trends of your genre.

You get to help others in their climb up the ladder.

You read your colleagues' works, root for your group, find reasons to expand your horizons.

You learn humility, appreciate your own talents more, firm up your sanity, expand
your sense of humor and balance. Get a Ph.D in human behavior! You augment your commitment, discipline, stewardship, volunteerism. Organizational support gives you freedom, a writing family, fellow celebrants of your talents and gifts. And long ambitions.

A framework of invaluable contacts. Helps keep your fluttering ego in check! You join your fellow members in meetings, meals, events, important gatherings. You find your strength by serving on a committee, helping man a sign-in table, innumerable ways of volunteering where you meet new writers up and down the craft ladder.

Now make your own list...

T. J. Straw

P.S. As an MWA member since 1988, I treasure the hours I've labored at innumerable "grunt work" tasks – just as much as serving on the Board or rubbing elbows with the High and Mighty at an Edgars Winners' table!


  1. Great article!! And I always have more energy to write and create once I leave a group of writers who talk and talk about the written word, the business of writing, the problems of plot, character and, well, the list does go on and on what writers talk about. Thanks for sharing your list!!

  2. Inspiring post. -- BrendaW.