5 Reasons You Should Join a Writing Organization Right Now

Pikes Peak Writers (a 501(c)(3) organization) is committed to helping writers grow and thrive through education, outreach, and community.

I’m the president of my local writing organization, Pikes Peak Writers. The term is a minimum of two years and a maximum of six. Sound like an enormous commitment? We have volunteers who have been consistently volunteering in big ways with the organization since its inception in 1993. We are an all-volunteer organization with an all-volunteer board of directors. Volunteer time is dictated largely by the volunteer and the positions they want to fill. Heavy lifters are usually members of the board who fill at least one position in addition to their board position. We are what you would call a “working board”. We have volunteers at conference that just moderate a couple of workshops. One thing is true for them all. We value and appreciate their service no matter how much time they give. Here’s what volunteering with a writing organization can do for you.

1. Hang Out with Other Writers

Sometimes I try to talk to my husband about my latest writing dilemma and don’t get me wrong, he tries to be helpful, but let’s face it; no one understands the trials and tribulations of a writer better than another writer. It’s not good for you to spend so much time holed up in some room somewhere squirreling away your words. It’s important to put on some pants and go out and be social once in a while so why not go out and be social with people who understand? If you attend conferences and cons you’re almost guaranteed to make a new friend. Writing organizations are a great place to start.

2. Find Your Helpers

No matter your writing level or how you publish, a little help never hurt anyone. Beta readers, editors (did you know there’s different kinds of editors for different purposes?), critique groups, and more can all help improve your writing. The best part is that you get valuable input and insight and you get to decide what to use and what to keep. Write-ins are a great way to get some distraction-free writing time in. Most organizations have at least one write-in event or members who are running their own.

3. Encouragement, Support, and Advocacy

Writers are strange birds. It’s difficult to discuss our writing with others if they’re not writers. When I discuss whatever I’m writing with my husband, one of two things usually happens. 1. his eyes glaze over seconds after I start talking and he says “what?” 2. He is in middle management i.e. he is a problem solver. So he will try to solve my problem even though I’m just sharing a bit of my workday, much like he would do, not expecting me to solve his work problems for him. Events that your local writing organization puts on can be invaluable to you as a writer. These events give you the opportunity to rub elbows with agents, editors, and other writer of all levels. Some larger organizations advocate for new writers and the larger writer/reader community by providing grants to new writers, libraries, and independent book stores. Who knows? You may help another writer in some way you would never expect. A rising tide lifts all boats.

4. Opportunity and Education

Writing organizations often hold contests and give opportunities for scholarships to conference and other events. PPW gives scholarships to their annual conference and publishes anthologies with submissions consisting solely of stories submitted by members. In addition, PPW’s blog is full of useful and educational writing information submitted by members. Submitting to an anthology gives members a chance to learn about the publication process for authors from submitting to the contract to marketing after publication. Writing for an organization’s blog gives a writer experience in professional writing and an opportunity to market themselves by sharing. Most organizations will give you the rights to your post back within a relatively short period of time, giving you a ready-made post for your own blog a few months down the line. You can find information on other publishing avenues by connecting with fellow authors. For example, I learned about submissiongrinder.com from a fellow author who writes short stories. Writing organizations also present tons of opportunities to learn, from yearly conferences to workshops presented throughout the year on a nearly endless variety of subjects.

5. Connection

I wouldn’t be the author I am today without the connections I made through PPW. I went from being a complete novice and general member, to newsletter editor, to non-conference events director, and now I’m president. I’ll also be the project manager for the next anthology. Each of these positions, along with others I’ve held over the years (I wear many hats) have taught me so much about the art and business of writing and given me the opportunity to know some truly exceptional people. AND I became a published, award winning, international selling, author! I’m so grateful for these gifts. You don’t have to be an uber-volunteer like me, but getting involved as a volunteer is one of the best ways to connect with others within the organization and with, say it with me now–“agents, editors and other writers, oh my!”

Be a joiner! I promise you, it will be worth it.

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