I’ve lived in Texas for over 40 years. Much of this time, I’ve spent doing various things, including honing my craft of writing. Near the end of last summer, I ran across a group designed to nurture local writers, to provide insights into the creative process and the business of writing through monthly speakers and seasonal writing workshops.
Considering myself to be an aspiring Texas writer, I decided to attend one of their meetings. And the rest as they say…was on like donkey-kong.
Shortly after joining the Writers’ Guild of Texas, I became a board member and currently serve as the Program Coordinator for the Guild. In a nutshell, my job is recruiting and selecting speakers that can offer guidance and wisdom to encourage and develop the writers attending our monthly meetings, regardless of what chapter of their writing career they find themselves.
We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying some magnificent authors and publishers present insightful words of wisdom, sharing what has worked for them and what has left them short of achieving their writing goals. Our guests have included Mike Farris, James Gaskin, Ginnie Bivona, Clay Reynolds, and Taylor Stevens. Michelle Stimpson and Brian W. Smith have both graciously conducted fruitful workshops for us these past twelve months. Upcoming guests include Blake Kimzey, playwright Jim Tyler Anderson, Virginia Boylan, Scott Bell, Steve Banner, and Pat Haddock. Taylor Stevens is returning this November to host a workshop entitled “From Idea to Publication: An Insider’s Walk through Traditional Publishing Deals”.
The Writers’ Guild of Texas meets on the 3rd Monday of every month (except in January when we meet on the 4th Monday due to the holiday celebrating Dr. King). We meet in the Basement at the Richardson Public Library, located at 900 Civic Center Drive, Richardson, Texas 75080. Our meetings start promptly at 7 p.m. Visitors are always welcome.
Being part of the Writers’ Guild of Texas has proven invaluable to me. It’s great to be among like-minded souls who can relate to the complicated mind of a writer. Let’s face it, what goes on inside our minds can be a daunting task to unravel. The camaraderie of fellow writers spurs us on, helping us get what’s in our head onto paper—or as oft the case in our 21st century techno-culture—onto the tablet or laptop screen.
Furthermore, being part of this group helps hold me accountable. Discipline and accountability are key to being a writer. The world is full of people who think about writing without ever writing. Having the accountability that comes with a group committed to helping people hone their craft is immeasurably beneficial. This becomes increasingly true once you invest time in being part of the monthly critique group.
Our critique group meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month. You don’t have to present material to attend, but it certainly is encouraged. It has helped me by providing me a deadline to work toward. Nothing measures your commitment to your craft quite like a time limit. Time adds a healthy tension to your aspirations. Are you “in” or are you “out”? Will you walk your talk or do you simply fancy chasing a pipe dream? After all, writing without putting words on paper is just that…a pipe dream.
To be sure, our critique group offers a safe, nurturing environment to develop your work. Sentences resound better when they are read aloud. Structure and plot issues boil to the top when you present your work to a small, trusted band of encouragers. They tell you what they like and what they don’t. Take what you want, leave the rest.
Whether you’re serious about your pursuit of writing or just curious with a desire to explore the possibility, I hope you’ll come join us at one of our monthly meetings. Our next meeting is Monday, May 18, 2015. Author and teacher, Blake Kimzey will present “Writing Out of the Wilderness: How to Survive Rejection and Forge a Path to Publication”. Hope to see you there!