If you are a solitary, introverted creature, like most writers are, you may be wondering why in the world you need to join a writers association?
We have some answers:
1) To Network. Yes, solitude is a nice atmosphere for writing, but sometimes you just need advice, camaraderie, or a connection with other people doing exactly what you do. Connecting with other writers can encourage you. It can spur you on. It can educate you. It can even help you build a better career. No man (or writer) is an island, even if they live on one.
2. To Maintain Awareness of the Industry. We writers spend a lot of time in our own heads writing stories. We are known for being out-of-touch with the real world. The only problem is the real world is where we have to sell, market and promote those stories we write to earn our livelihood. It can be challenging for a writer to keep tabs on the current, local pulse of the genre or industry he/she writes for. A writers association pools the resources and industry connections of the entire group to keep its members up-to-date and in touch.
3. To Build Professionalism. Being part of a writers association can help you become a more professional writer. Your membership adds to the your CV as a writer. It looks good on a website or an author’s bio page. It shows that you take your writing seriously enough to invest in and support your local community of writers. And by associating with writers further along in their careers than you are, you get to see what it looks like to move to the next level of professionalism.
3. To Effect Change. Sometimes we don’t like the way things are, but what can we do? We’re only one, solitary voice. However, if we join together as a group with common goals, our power to change things around us increases exponentially. If we want the speculative fiction industry in New Zealand to grow, we have a better chance of accomplishing that as a group, than as isolated individual writers.
4. To Support One Another. Whether it is critiquing someone”s work, writing together at a coffee shop, helping a friend design their author’s website, or giving someone advice about their first short story contract, we all have knowledge and experience that can help others in our industry thrive and grow. Good writing is less about competition and more about collaboration.
5. To Have Fun. There is no joy quite like getting together with a group of writerly friends. Whether it is a Con, a workshop, or just a casual night out, hanging with a group of writers is just plain fun. But we can be a shy, reluctant species, much like the native Kiwi, which is why joining an association can help us make the friendly connections that don’t come so easily in the wider, scarier world.