I’ve written before about my writers group, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, and how integral I think they were in my path to publication. They offer support, education sessions on writing, critique groups, advice and on and on. I joined in September of 2010, having just started writing Speak of the Devil, and I was full of goals and things I needed to get done. My strategy was mapped out to when I wanted to have the book finished, when I wanted to start submitting it, how to go about getting PRO, everything, but I knew I needed some critique partners and some advice on where to send it. I’d written some other manuscripts but had sent them out blindly and never received any interest. I wanted to get it right with this book, so I joined RWAC in order to get some help.
Every October our group has a writer’s retreat, too. I’m married, have two sons who at the time were 12 and 4, and also in 2010 had 2 dogs. It was hard to find quiet time to write and finish my book. Even though I’d only just joined the group, I felt the writer’s retreat would be perfect to jump right in, have some time to work, meet some of the others in my group and maybe get some answers to my initial questions on the business.
The retreat took place in White Point Resort a few hours from where I live and was not only fun but a great help! I was able to get to know a core from my group, got lots of writing done, and was also grouped with Julia Phillips Smith and Tara MacDonald in a brainstorming group. When we broke into our small brainstorming groups, we talk about what we’re working on and any issues we may be having and the others offer support and ideas for where to go next. Julia, Tara and I were grouped together because we were the oddball fantasy, paranormal writers. They gave me a better idea for an overriding framework for Speak of the Devil and I hope I helped them in some way as well.
I’ve said this before and will keep going on about it. I think writers need writing groups. Writing is a solitary exercise but there are so many aspects of it that having other writers to go to, learn from, ask questions of, and just in general talk shop with is extremely helpful. I couldn’t have done it without them. Or if I did end up finishing Speak of the Devil on my own, it would be sitting in a box somewhere under my bed collecting dust and not be in production to be published this fall.
(Tara MacDonald, Annette Gallant, Nikki Macintosh, Kelly Boyce, Julia Phillips Smith, Linda Atkinson, and me)