As we head into February, the Chinese celebrate their new year and welcome in the Year of the Pig. thought we could learn from them and make 2019 the Year of the Writing Friends.
Writing is a lonely business, even if you collaborate. Many of your friends and family won’t understand why you spend so much time staring at a screen, a notebook or off into space, especially given that remuneration is not often equal to effort for most of us. That’s why it is important to make friends in the writing community AND make time to see them in person. As wonderful as social media is at keeping us in contact, it is also a workspace for most authors. To fill your creating well and to maintain your joi de vivre, it’s important to take time away from your desk and your smart phone. If your only writing buddy lives across the country, it’s time to make some more friends. I advocate the three Cs: meet for coffee, cocktails or conferences.
Think of conferences as an umbrella term for group meetings. It includes writing groups, workshops, one-day courses, lectures, author talks at bookshops or libraries, award dinners and more. You can discover these by signing up to the newsletters of organisations such as your state writing centre, your local bookshop, the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA), RWA and genre specific organisations like Sisters in Crime. I’m not familiar with the sci-fi/fantasy groups, but I am sure they are out there. (Give us a heads up in the comments in you know who they are). If you don’t know ARRA, look them up. They have get-togethers in most of the major centres and many authors as well as readers are members. Their membership fee is nominal and they’re a powerhouse of organisation. A writers’ book club is another option.
Australia has many ‘literary’ festivals that would appeal to RWA members. Take a day out of your schedule and attend one. If you aren’t on any of the panels, you can still go as a member of the audience. Ask questions and introduce yourself to other writers. (Remember those business cards). If you’re not yet published, don’t be shy. All authors were at one stage unpublished. The chances are you’ll meet a like-minded soul you can start a group with, and even if you don’t, you’ll have fun.
A very helpful writer by the name of Jason Nahrung keeps an up-to-date calendar of Australian literary festivals here: https://jasonnahrung.com/2019-australian-literary-festival-calendar/. There are over 150 events listed – so get on out there and find your tribe!
Coming up in forthcoming posts: the publishing sales cycle; learning from a rejection; identifying your sub-genre; why you need a brand; publishing trends; paperback vs ebook sales; defining success, and more.
Laura Boon Russell
Laura is a bookaholic and tennis tragic. She became entangled in publishing after reading Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades and ‘stealing’ The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager. She has worked as a bookseller, sales rep, publicist and freelance editor. In 2006, Frontrunner Publishing released her DIY guide to publicity for small business, Make the Media Work for You. However, she is forever indebted to the RWA for giving her the courage and the tools to write the stories she wants to tell. The Wild Rose Press will publish her first romance in 2018.