By Edie Melson, Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine
I remember what it was like when I was just starting out as a writer. There was so much to learn. Part of that learning process is deciding where to invest our time and money—and that includes figuring out which organizations to join.
Which Organizations Should I join and Why
I’ll start with the why.
1. Every writer needs the support of other writers. Sometimes we get that one on one—with a mentor. But more often, we find that within a group.
2. Membership in a professional organization shows serious intent. It proves to publishers and agents that we’re willing to invest in a writing career.
There are two major options for organizations:
1. Find a local group. Good places to look are on social media, and through local libraries and bookstores. They will often have a listing of any local writing groups. It’s not always possible to find a local group, but that’s where I recommend you start.
2. Find an online group. There are many excellent national groups that have an online presence. I’m a member of several. Here are some I can recommend:
· ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers): is for Christian fiction writers. It offers lots of benefits to members, including free online classes from publishing professionals, a national conference, and an email loop where you can ask writing related questions.
· Word Weavers International: This is a great critique group option. They have local groups, as well as online groups. This group was developed over years of experience in what works to help new and even more advanced writers.
· SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators): This is specifically for those who write for children and young adults.
· ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Authors): This is specifically for the non-fiction writers.
· RWA (RomanceWriters of America): This is a national group for romance writers in general.
· NWU (NationalWritersUnion): I’m not a member of the national freelance writers group, but it’s a reputable group and I hear good things about it.
· NWA (NationalWriters Association): Again, I’m not a member, but this is another reputable group that I hear good things from.
· Advanced Writers & Speakers Association (AWSA): This is a group of professional writers & speakers. They have requirements to join, but I’ve found this group to be a huge value for me as a professional
· Christian Authors Network (CAN): Again, this is a professional group, but another one that has been a great asset for me in my publishing career.
These groups are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other groups—Learn How to Write a Novel, Serious Writer, Realm Makers, etc. I really don’t have room to list them all, and I know I’m leaving some great ones out. But this is where writers begin to take ownership of their careers—doing the research for professional organizations to join.