Friday, January 16, 2009

Way to Go...

I was going to talk about queries and submissions, but had a change of heart. Today, I want to talk about support. It’s Thursday night and I am officially on holidays. Yippee! It’s the middle of January, on the prairies, so some would assume that I am heading south for warmer weather, sun, sand, a margarita or seven. After all, we’ve been having horrendously cold conditions here for over a month, with wind chills that could freeze skin in less than 5 minutes. Cold! A tropical vacation would be just the thing for my 10 days off. But, nope, I’m taking 6 working days off to write. At home! In my pajamas!

Friday midnight is the start of the SRW’s BIAW. That’s a lot of initials. SK Romance Writers’ Book in a Week happens every January. A way to jump back into writing after a hectic holiday season and way to kick off the New Year with writing as a priority. This will be my third year and I love it. And I’ve taken time off to participate. Now the support that coincides with this event is tremendous. We have a coordinator (shout out to Muriel) to whom we e-mail our goals and then our daily results. She cuts and pastes various parts of those e-mails and sends them back out to all those who’ve joined the madness. Instant motivation – we can see how others are doing, celebrate their achievements, commiserate with their struggles, and get our butts back in the chair for another day of writing. The enthusiasm is contagious. When we gather at the end of the week for our monthly meeting, the topic of BIAW is usually lively and inspirational.

Group support is invaluable for a writer. The SRW was the first group I joined after I decided I wanted to take my writing to another level. They welcomed me with open arms, read my manuscript, offered advice, and have become my writing family. Then I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America). A huge group of writers, both published and unpublished. Through that group, I learned of an online chapter (RWA Online Chapter #136 - and decided to sign up. You’re counting now, right? Three groups all requiring yearly fees? OK. The online group is amazing. Message boards keep you up to date with releases, industry news, weekly challenges, and birthday announcements. They have a critiquing thread, a plotting thread, and classes from legal issues to characterization to POV. There’s also a chat room where I’ve met wonderful people. I highly recommend joining a group – writing is a lonely occupation. Finding like-minded people makes it a little less isolating.

I have other support besides my writer buddies. My family is behind me 100%. Sister-in-law #1 was the first person to read my manuscript. She’s also read versions 2,3,4, & 9. Sister-in-law #2 wants to know when it’ll be published because she has a list of people who would love it. Mum tells everyone that her daughter is a writer, although she will never read it after I told her it had sex in it. My friends ask me about my writing, how it’s going, what I’m working on. They don’t find it strange that I’m taking a holiday to write. But my number one supporter is The Husband!

I’m taking holiday days to write! Paying for three yearly memberships! Spend my entire free time (well, not all of it) sitting at my computer working on stories that take up space on my hard drive! Some weekends, we eat cheese and crackers for supper because I was in the middle of a scene and couldn’t stop to cook supper (before any one gets the wrong message on that one – The Husband cooks all of our meals during the week, weekend meals are my responsibility)! I’ve needed help formatting and he’s stepped in and saved the day. He even read my medieval romance and offered suggestions from a man’s point of view. Now with support like that, how can I not succeed?

So, People of Blogland – who’s your biggest supporter? What groups do you belong to and how have they helped you meet your goals? And what’s a better choice that cheese and crackers when you’re in the middle of a scene, but your stomach’s demanding food?


Karen said...

Hi Janet,

I am a member of SWR, RWA and SWG (Sask. Writers Guild). I'm lucky to have support of family and friends and many requests to read my wip which freaks me out but makes me very thankful.

This January, for the first time, I tried my hand at once-a-month cooking and meal planning. It actually works. But otherwise take-out works great.


Janet said...

Hey Karen - I'm usually very good at planning my meals. I know what we're having. But I get so caught up in my writing that I don't think about cooking, reheating, until my stomach demands to be fed - NOW! Thank goodness we like cheese and crackers!

If you're interested, I would recommend joining the RWA online group. I've gotten so much from that membership.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Janet, I'm a mbr of the SRW, the RWA, and the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

Two yrs ago, after not writing fiction for almost 2 dozen yrs, my hubby looked up from reading a Steeple Hill Love Inspired book and said, "You could have written this...why don't you?" He bought me a laptop and I haven't looked back.

Like you Janet, my hubby was the first one to read my completed inspirational novel. His masculine insights were welcomed and his praise that I was right on the money for the hero's POV was a relief. Can I call him my Beta Reader? The rest of my family is very supportive as well and will try to be quiet when they know I'm on a deadline. If they do get too noisy, I just pack up my laptop and head to my bedroom.

I've signed up for BIAW and have told the family I'm a figment of their imagination all next week. When I said this, teen daughter who will share the cooking with hubby said, 'Oh, all right.' I mean, who said I have to be the cook just because I'm the oldest female in the house? Anyway, this is good practice for her because she graduates in June and will soon be off to live her own life. sigh

Jana Richards said...

Hi Janet,
Although I've belonged to online critique groups and enjoyed the experience emmensely, I've probably received the best support from the two "live" groups I belong to, the Saskatchewan Romance Writers and my little critique group here in Winnipeg, Lover's Knot. A better bunch of critiquers I haven't met. It's nice to be able to be able to call people up when I have a question and meet them face to face for coffee and a critique session every once in a while.

Jana Richards

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Janet, I was going to mention my 2 CP's but then I got carried away talking about my family. :-0

When I joined the ACFW, I was sent an on-line 'quiz' to critique and return. When they rec'd my response, I was 'hooked up' with 2 ladies whom the ACFW decided were on the same wavelength writing-wise. I'm so thankful for the ACFW for chosing them. I trust these women, their insights and their criticisms with everything I write. Home support is good but biased. Support from a critique partner is wonderful.

Janet said...

Hey Anita - good luck with BIAW. It sounds like you have all your tasks assigned and are ready to sit down and write your heart out. I'm looking forward to you daily update.

Wow, on the ACFW people and the choosing of critique partners. An interesting perspective. And to be given two is more than most writers have the opportunity to work with.

Jana - you're right about personal interaction. That's what I love about the SRW's monthly meetings. BTW, I love your Winnipeg groups name!

Suse said...

Hey Janet,

I always seem to be Johnny Come Lately. I usually manage to read everyone's blogs at my 1/2 hour at lunch at work, but I don't always have time to respond.

I have a great support system from my husband and kids. We're all creative types, so I guess we respect the process, although they may not always understand the writing part. It's the same with my coworkers, they're always glad when I get something published, but maybe don't quite understand what draws me to the writing, etc. But I am very lucky to belong to SRW. We just "know" what the other people in our group are experiencing and how our brains work. I am a member of the SWG again. I join and quit, join and quit, etc. Sometimes, I get what I want out of the membership and other times I don't. I guess it depends on where I'm at with my writing. I know I get a lot more out of any group when I become involved, so people may see me at a few more SWG functions this year. I have also belonged to RWA off and on as well. Right now I'm off, just because I'm not writing novels right now.

Most of our meals are slapped together so I can't help you with any suggestions different from your crackers and cheese. Although I did get a great recipe for Roasted Red Pepper sauce from a coworker - Yum! It will keep up to a week in the fridge. This sauce can be used for vegetables or meats, but also works great with pita chips.

Best of luck to everyone with BIAW.