Four years ago I was an aspiring writer of Fantasy fiction who was, quite frankly, getting nowhere on her own. I’d decided to look for an online critique group and discovered the Romance Writers of America. Though I did not write in the romance genre at that time, I was advised that it was a fantastic organization for “women authors who write about women.” Though I was skeptical about this description at first, I am so glad I pushed past my initial misgivings and attended my first meeting.
Sitting in one room were bestselling New York Times authors sitting beside multi-published series novelists and aspiring PROS (finished manuscripts, may or not be agented but actively querying) and complete novices (just starting out). Historical romance authors sat beside women’s fiction authors who sat beside western authors. It was an amazing, supportive place. I signed up for membership right away.
There was mentoring happening, regular workshops about the craft and about the business. I was making new friends who were as geeky (and sometimes more so!) about their writing as I was. I was finding encouragement and hope and discovering that this goal of becoming a published author was attainable. And I had so many wonderful models to look up to. Women of all ages (and men too, actually!) who were so supportive. The motto of our local chapter is “One hand reaching forward, the other reaching back.” And it is so true, this human chain of compassion, mutual support and understanding. Of teamwork.
If you are a writer and are not familiar with RWA, I strongly urge you to look into it. It might not end up being your cup of tea but it might be just the thing you need to give you that extra push towards your goals.