“…we are a formidable army of writing knowledge who can march forward and make our mark by linking arms and helping build each other up.“
When I meet a writer, I often mention that I’m a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild (NWG). Writer-to-writer, if they’re not already members, I suggest they consider joining or at least consider attending the NWG’s annual conference. I’ve on a few occasions heard them respond that they might be willing to be a presenter at an NWG conference, but can’t imagine there would be anything NWG could offer for them to learn. I don’t press these writers any further as each person knows what’s best for them.
I have a different opinion about how to approach the field of writing and firmly believe staying current and always meeting new upcoming talent is vital to having a vibrant writing career. I recently attend the NWG annual conference and walked away, as I always do, with new knowledge and friends, and also some very specific realizations, as follows.
- The people who attended the most classes and took copious notes were those who were already successful. Those writers with PhD’s; MFA’s; those with dozens of published books; those who make decent money with their writing careers; and those of whom I respect for their talent. These writers range in age from 20 something to 90. They are journalists, poets, freelance writers, historians, romance writers, fiction and non-fiction writers, indie published, to traditionally published, as well as some who use vanity presses. Some are established authors, to those just learning to write. We have people with gray hair, those with blue, pink, or purple hair – and to hell with if you like the way they’re dressed, they’ll do their own thing, thank you very much. Writers tend to be:
- Extremely articulate
- Have large lexicons
- Have curious minds
- Always learning
- Full of questions
- Respectful of other’s opinion
- Constantly honing their skills
- Interested in learning new things
- Current with new technology
- Cutting Edge is not going too far with what we learn at NWG conferences. We’re not just sitting around talking about how to diagram a sentence, or discussing the poignancy of classic novels. We’re taking our writing to the next level and arming ourselves with understanding about how we can use what’s new and trending. We’re young, we’re middle-aged, we’re fully ripened, and we’re a smart bunch excited to roll with the changing times. If you think progressive writers are just sitting around resting on their laurels or talking about lofty literary goals… think again. That’s certainly not what the NWG is offering. The Guild offers growth. Here are some of the classes that were offered at the Annual conference we just wrapped up:
- How to make a Tic Tok video and sell books.
- How to take advantage of Kindle Vella books.
- How to make audio recorded books.
- How to get an agent in on-line pitching events
- How to write E-newsletters to gain a following
- Scrivener (a writing program that helps organize your chapters and ideas.)
- How to make an author website
- Networking does NOT mean handing out business cards and telling people about your new book. Go to a Guild conference and networking simply happens.
- We’re all forming a massive network of contacts who know new things.
- We’re supporting each other
- Each individual at a conference knows dozens of people with knowledge and skills. Therefore, every time we make friends with a new person, we’re gaining potential access to their list of skilled artisans.
- If we join together to promote each other’s books, we can reach the same kind of audiences that paid advertising reaches.
- We can save money if we trade critiques, trade editing, trade skills like formatting or book cover design, interview each other for our blogs, promote each other on our websites… the list goes on and on.
- IF we decide to, we are a formidable army of writing knowledge who can march forward and make our mark by linking arms and helping build each other up.
- Little is more powerful than networking when it comes to growing your business.
- Helping others. It’s not all about you and what you can get out of an organization. An organization gives you as much as you put into it. Belonging is as much about what you give as about what you get.
- When I volunteer at a conference, I organically meet dozens and dozens of new people
- New writers may end up becoming a good friend to me
- You may make a real difference in a new writer’s life
- You might introduce one writer to someone else who can help them
- You may be able to be part of making positive change in the organization
- You may bring new people together who will become good friends
- You can share what you know with someone who is just learning
- You may learn something from someone younger who knows technology better than you do
- You may learn something from someone who is older and wiser than you
- You may gain a new point of view from someone from a different background than you
- You will have the opportunity to support a good organization that helped you and others grow
- You will learn leadership skills
- And maybe, you’ll have an opportunity to laugh with someone new, or hug someone who needs it, or listen to someone who needs a sympathetic ear. Every time we help someone else, we help ourselves.
You might believe you won’t get anything out of joining a writing organization such as the Nebraska Writers Guild. You may feel you are beyond the point of learning and growing in your writing career. You may believe you have enough writing contacts and friends, or at least the ones who really matter. Maybe you don’t want to share your skills, or you just don’t want to grow your career or knowledge. Every writer is in their own phase and certainly, there are situations when one simply can’t squeeze one more thing in your life, or are in poor health, or only write as a hobby and have no intention of making their writing a business. This article is not meant for all ears.
But if you want to keep growing, learning, and turning your writing into sales, and your manuscript into a book people will read, then consider joining your local, or state’s writing organizations. If organizations around you don’t fit your needs, consider joining the Nebraska Writers Guild. We have members from not only other states but have had members from other countries.
In the Nebraska Writers Guild, not only are we learning, but we’re also making friends and growing our businesses. We have national best-sellers in our midst. We have writers whose books are being translated into other languages. We have writers who are making serious money. And most of all, we have skills to breech the new world of writing. We are a happy, positive, writing organization with much to give to each other. If you’re asking the question, “How do I write a book?”, the answer is, join a writing organization like the Nebraska Writers Guild and attend their conferences. The Guild may have been founded in the 1920s, but without a doubt, we are embracing the new millennium or writing.