Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)
Several years ago, when I first started writing seriously, and by that I mean with the intent to sell, I needed and approach... for a lot of things. The first question that my online friends asked me was, “Are you a member of Romance Writers of America?” I was not. I had no idea what RWA was! They told me that I simply must join. MUST? Being the ignorant, innocent, trusting soul that I am, I thought, “Hmm, perhaps I had better check into this group.”
Therefore, I went online and found the RWA website. “Gee, they look pretty legit. I wonder if they have a local chapter? Gee, they do! The Magnolia State Romance Writers.” I went to the MSRW website. Wow! They’re having a meeting this week! I e-mailed the local President and asked if it would be all right if I attended. She graciously extended an invitation. It was the beginning of many friendships, without which, I do not know what I would do.
Let me tell you about Romance Writers of America. If you are an aspiring writer, like I am, an organization of this sort is essential to your success. It is an association of published and unpublished writers, from all over the world. Its only aims are the promotion of the Romance genre and helping one another. That specifically includes new writers. The philosophy seems to be, “Come play in our sand box, and we’ll just make it bigger for everyone.” The organization has an enormous mentoring program. Every member that I have met has been unfailingly generous with their time and advice. In a short blog, I cannot begin to list all of the benefits that are offered. To tell you the truth...I don’t even yet know all the benefits offered. I’m still finding new ones everyday. However, I would like to focus on one, which to me is priceless.
In my last blog, I quoted Edward Gibbon about lacking training and knowledge. I was not kidding. I have an undergraduate degree in English from a fine college, and yet not a single class in creative writing. Not only that, but it was forty years ago! How much do you remember from last week? The important thing for me is that RWA has online chapters, which offer classes, at reasonable rates, taught by experts. These classes cover everything from the nuts and bolts construction of a story through the organization of the global publishing industry. Do you want to build a world in another galaxy? There are classes available. How does the FBI work? Take a class. Did you say that you don’t have a marketing pan? Quick, you have to take the class.
Over the last year, I have been OD-ing on classes taught through the Outreach International (OIRW) chapter of RWA. I cannot praise this group and its wonderful instructors enough. However, they are not the only branch of RWA to offer classes. In the list, Very Useful; Very Important, on the left side of this page you will find links to many wonderful writing organizations. Many have free online articles that the novice writer will find invaluable. Please, surf the list. You won’t be sorry.
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