We writers need the camaraderie of other writers for commiseration and for our own growth. SheWrites has given me that.
When landing upon SheWrites a few months ago I didn’t take it seriously. “What am I going to do with a bunch of whiny women who want to publish in Good Housekeeping? How can I learn from women who write poetry about puppy dogs?” Nonetheless, I joined a few groups within the site and sat patiently. The emails started trickling in. More and more of them had links to, questions about, or discussions starting on topics that related directly to my own needs. I was thrilled! These were not women lollygagging in their writing. These were women who could write better than I and who were published better than I.
In November came National Novel Writing Month. Since I’m not a fiction writer, I might have shrugged it off, too. But these women were sending a flurry of activity to SheWrites. Their energy and enthusiasm compelled me to participate, too. I altered the rules of the one-month writing challenge to suit my nonfiction needs, and noticed that poets, journalists, and professors were also doing that. The experience garnered me new readers for critiques, new friends, and heaps of information about publications of my interest.
Here are some of the topics we discuss:
- informative, graduate level (but only sometimes academic) reads about the writing process
- news about members’ recent publications and acceptances
- daily reports of our goals
- warnings and advice about how to deal with agents, editors, and publishers
- the submission process
- preparing books for agents and/or publishers
The diversity of the membership helped me to easily find writers with similar experience and/or professional drive. It’s not just a site like Facebook for Writers; it’s chockablock full of articles and essays and webinars by professionals in all realms of the writing industry. There are also classes.
What is this thing?
SheWrites isn’t a bunch of angry grrrrlss. Nor is it a pack of flufftarts or catty women who hoard their contacts to themselves. It’s everything, every woman. This group of women understands that the road to success is paved with sharing and supporting. This is evidently only what the most professional writers understand (from my 15 years of experience). It’s networking. It’s a font of wisdom from 15,000 members in 30 countries.
Kamy Wicoff started it as part of Salon for Women Writers, which has branches in the US and England. Find out more about the impressive story here.
Consider how you can benefit from some of these groups:
The Submission Mission (we have monthly online chats)
Essay Writing (we discuss the craft and techniques within writing essays and share news on publications that are paying or accepting specific sub-genres or even having contests)
Global Writers (we have just commenced monthly chats, and I’ll be leading January’s)
Virtual Critique Group (where we even discuss critiques of query letters)
Some of my personal benefits
Another element of the site I like is the ability to publicize yourself and help support others who need some confidence with it. My Twitter followers, blog subscribers, and professional Facebook connections has jumped because of SheWrites connections. I’ve discovered how to build an author’s platform and how to write better query letters. I’ve earned a reviewing position for which I can review new and undiscovered literary journals. I’ve jumped into the gorgeous ocean of online literature, much to the relief of my sometimes Luddite mind.
The site’s updated multiple times daily, not just by member activity but by an effective and efficient administrative staff. It’s easy to navigate, though there is an unending amount of information on it, so start small. It’ll definitely grow on you! It’s free. You don’t have to feel bad if you don’t pay it a visit for a few days. Have emails sent to your Inbox and weed through them to find what appeals to you. Then join the conversation immediately.
In the end SheWrites has made me a more productive, more effective, more connected, and better read writer. That’s especially important to me as I transition from journalist to literary writer. For it I am thankful.