Last Saturday, novelist Rachael Herron and I visited our local Romance Writers of America chapter. Where we ate bagels, drank coffee, hobnobbed, and had a pretty great time. Somewhere in the middle of all of it, we also managed to give a talk on novel revision.
This was my second time hanging out with an RWA chapter, and my experience Saturday confirmed my feeling that the RWA is a tremendous force for good in the writing world. If you’re thinking about starting a writing club, I’d totally recommend you go see your local RWA chapter in action and steal all of their ideas.
If you can’t make it to an RWA meeting but are still interested in such thievery, here are the Top Five things I love about the RWA.
1) They’re funny. RWA women are hilarious. And they’re laughing all the time! General announcements? Laughing. Update from the chapter treasurer? Laughter. Bathroom break? Really laughing. I love writers who are confident enough in their abilities that they can let their guard down and have fun with each other.
2) The RWA rewards effort, regardless of outcome. At Saturday’s RWA meeting, I watched people who’d recently sold a piece of writing get a treat. Then I watched people who recently received good news get a treat. Then I watched people who recently received bad news get a treat. The moral: Everyone who puts themselves out there gets a treat. Trying was celebrated as much as triumph. This seems to create…
3) A strong push to finish things and get them out into the world. I’ve visited writing groups where getting things done was secondary to talking about the difficulty of getting things done. In the RWA chapter, there was a no-nonsense, roll-up-your-sleeves attitude towards book writing that resulted in members getting projects finished, and then moving on to the next book or story. And the next.
4) Na’vi-style networking. You know how in the movie Avatar the blue people and their plant and animal friends were all part of a planet-wide interconnectedness, and they could use that bond to tell immediately if it was someone’s birthday or if giant bulldozers were coming to destroy their planet forever? The RWA chapter is like that, but their Pandora is the publishing industry. If a big-time YA editor decided ten minutes ago to start buying paranormal romance, someone in the room at the RWA chapter would sense it and tell the whole room about it. They know the industry on a somatic level, and they seemed to be happiest when sharing new opportunities they’d discovered with other writers. This was such a great antidote to the cutthroat, your-success-is-my-failure attitude that some writing communities foster.
5) They meet in a brewery. Yep. Well played, RWA. Well played.
Thanks to Rachael and Martha for the photo!