Last night I attended my first PWAC (Professional Writers Association of Canada) meeting. I’ve been a member for four years now, but had always been too shy too go to meetings. Last month, I decided to put an end to that and volunteered to be PWAC membership coordinator for my chapter. I thought that would force me to get involved and push me out of my comfort zone. After all, if I’m on the executive, I should go to meetings, non?
After last night’s meeting, all I could think was that I should have started going sooner. The meeting, with about 15 other writers–new and established–talking about writing was amazing. It was an informal “Beers with Peers” meeting. We all sat on the deck at the Yacht Club (as an aside, I’m using the phrase, “Well, at my dinner at the Yacht Club last night…” in every conversation today) and enjoyed the beautiful view and weather.
The evening was energizing. That’s what I’d say, and that’s what my fantastic friend Chloe (who went to the meeting with me to help me with my shyness) said. Listening to people talk so passionately about writing made me want to come home and write. Hearing the younger folk talk about starting their writing career, I was reminded about all the reasons I got into writing. And, offering some words of advice on things they could do to start (I’ll post some of those ideas next week) made me feel like I had something to offer, which is a wonderful feeling.
Joining a group like PWAC (it doesn’t have to be PWAC, but I’m biased and since I’m the membership coordinator I’ll mention them when I can), reminds me that I’m not in this alone. It can be lonely, sitting at a computer desk in your house all day. I haven’t yet trained my cats to speak English, so I don’t really have anyone to talk to during the day. I also don’t know what the other writers are going through because I don’t share work space with them or see them on a regular basis.
But going to that meeting and hearing other writers say “Yes, this year has been worse than others [income-wise],” and sharing ideas on getting through it comforted me, and gave me hope and a new perspective on writing.
I’m not saying that I’m ever down on writing–I absolutely love it and I can’t imagine doing anything else. But sometimes, writers can get stuck in a rut. Last night was just what I needed to feel energized and invigorated about writing. It was a wonderful evening and I look forward to the next meeting.
There are many other benefits to joining writing organizations but for me, the greatest benefit might be in having one night a month to get together and talk with other writers. It makes me believe that while I may be alone at my computer desk, I’m not alone in my career. That’s incredibly comforting.
So, to those of you who are writers and haven’t joined an organization, I urge you to investigate local writing groups. It doesn’t have to be PWAC (although I recommend it). See if you can go to a meeting to check things out. I don’t think you’d regret it.