By Paty Jager
I began my adventure of writing when my children were young. That means over thirty years ago, I started the search to find like-minded people. My first couple of attempts at connecting with other writers weren’t very promising.
There was a local writing group I found out about, but they were mostly poets and I wanted to write fiction. We weren’t a very good match. Then I found out about an event called Fishtrap that happens every year in the county in Oregon where I grew up. I attended one year when I had written a historical western romance after having read LaVyrle Spencer and thinking I could write stories like that. The workshop I signed up for had a New York Editor allowing you to read your work to her and she’d give feedback. She started on one side of her allowing each person to read a page of their work. I was struck by how different the stories were and how some resonated and while others didn’t make any sense to me, yet she praised them all. Then it was my turn. I started reading and everyone visibly leaned away from me. The editor stopped me and asked if I’d heard of RWA- Romance Writers of America. I hadn’t. She told me to see her after the workshop. I had read a genre book in a literary workshop!
I was ecstatic with the information she gave me. I went home, joined RWA, and received their magazine which told me about conferences all over the U.S.! I was elated to see there was one in Seattle, only 5 hours from where I lived. I went, and it was like walking into a room full of mes. 😉 I had finally found people who thought the way I did, with characters in their heads, and who were either published or working at it, like I was. I had found nirvana! And I discovered there were two chapters only 2 ½ hours from where I lived.
The Salem chapter was the perfect fit for me. Easy to find, friendly people, and a small group. I drove the 2 ½ hours once a month for close to 10 years. I found the meetings helpful and enlightening. There were all day Saturday workshops I attended, and I continued to go to the Seattle conference every other year to learn more on the craft, publishing, and the business of writing. After 7 years and the same amount of books written, I became published with a small press in historical western romance.
While being part of RWA, I was a chapter vice president and president. I also joined a local writing guild becoming their program chair and bringing in more presentations like I’d come to love at the RWA meetings on craft and the business side of writing.
Now there are so many online groups you can join that it’s hard to know where to start. I have since left RWA because my heart is really in writing mysteries. It was from the start, but I couldn’t find a group to help me hone the craft of writing in the genre I loved. Now I belong to Sisters in Crime an online national group that is an off-shoot of RWA, ALLI- Alliance of Independent Authors, Indie Authors, and Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula group. While I am still working on craft, I now need more knowledge on marketing and publishing since taking the Indie Author plunge in 2011.
I also couldn’t write and stay sane without the friendship of a group of ladies I met either through RWA or the writer’s guild. We meet once a month for a potluck lunch and discuss where we are at in our careers and projects and talk about what we’ve each heard in the writing world. I’m also a member of an Author’s Co-operative. We are all Indie Authors who have a community website and sell our books from the website and support one another with promotion, kudos, and pick-me-ups. While I tend to be an introvert, I’ve come to rely heavily on these last two groups. They are the people who have my back and I have theirs.
I would have to say, I can’t think of a better writing path than the one I’ve had and continue to follow.
WILD DEADWOOD TALES Anthology
Rodeos and romance, Old West adventure, and even a few ghostly tales. Deadwood’s wild past and exciting present come alive in seventeen original short stories written by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors to benefit the Western Sports Foundation. Contributing authors: E.E. Elisabeth Burke, Zoe Blake, Paty Norman Jager, Teresa Keefer, Megan Kelly, Sylvia McDaniel, Amanda McIntyre, Peggy McKenzie, Angi Morgan, Nancy Naigle, Jacqui Nelson, Terri Osburn, Ginger Ring, Maggie Ryan, Lizbeth Selvig, Tina Susedik and A.C. Wilson
Proceeds from this limited edition collection go to benefit the Western Sports Foundation, an organization providing critical assistance to athletes competing in Western lifestyle sports. Whether they need help recuperating from an injury or planning for the future, WSF is there for them.
universal Link https://www.books2read.com/WDTales
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
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2 replies on “Writers Clubs: Finding Help Along my Writing Path”
Thank you for having me on your blog!
It’s always a pleasure, Paty. You have such great “takes” on our topics.