Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writers' groups

I just discovered a wonderful writers' group in San Diego (to where I'll eventually be moving). It's San Diego Writers, Ink. My lifelong friend Vickie Pynchon, an attorney-mediator, columnist and blogger extraordinaire, is a member of a close-knit writers' group in Los Angeles. Vickie was a part of my first group, Sisters of the Pen, when we were kids. Who knew then how much writing we both would go on to do? (My sister Cordelia, also a former member and now an antiques dealer, is also blogging). I wasn't in another group again until a couple years after I broke into the news business. Fellow journalist and friend Susan Gembrowski, who's now an editor on the metro desk at the San Diego Union-Tribune, once hosted a few writers' meetings in Ocean Beach for local freelancers. The meetings eventually dwindled as we all moved on with our respective journalism careers. The first time I participated (about five years ago) in the Authors of the Flathead conference in Whitefish, Montana, I was envious. The group is chock full of talented, aspiring authors who encourage and constructively critique their respective works. After giving a workshop at their annual conference last month, in early October, I told myself I was going to find a group of my own, even if I had to be the one to organize it. I haven't found a group in Las Vegas, although freelance writer Terrisa Meeks runs one in Vegas where I was once a speaker. When I worked at the Las Vegas Sun in the mid 1990s, a handful of reporters started a writers group there. We'd meet once a month at a local Starbucks and go over each other's lengthier feature pieces we each were working on. With time, those meetings, too, slowly dwindled. Then this week, on the Internet, I stumbled across the San Diego group. Writing is a craft; the more you do it, the better you get. Thus, I'm hoping to not only learn from other writers, but to help others as well. The goal is getting words on the page and getting feedback along the way for works in progress. Fellow writers' feedback is invaluable and a gift when you can get it.

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