I had such a great time last night that I wanted to spend the morning singing the praises of getting involved with your genre association. So without further ado, here are the top ten reasons to participate in your local ACFW chapter (or other genre association.)
- Fellowship. That's the church word for getting together with people who understand what you are going through and who can offer their support and sympathy.
- Networking. That's the business word for meeting people you like who you would like to work with. At our genre association I have connected with editors, proofreaders, mentors, and designers who I can use or recommend to other writers.
- Advice. The speakers who come to our meetings have experience and wisdom. They've learned the hard way, and they will share with you so you can learn something new the hard way.
- Snacks. (I like to eat. ) ;)
- The Secret Handshake. It's not a literal handshake at our local chapter, but there is a lingo, a jargon, to this business, as there is with anything. The best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it!
- The End of Loneliness. Lots of writers are introverts. I am not. I am an extrovert. When my batteries need to be charged I go to Wal-Mart because there are so many people there! Writing is such a quiet, alone kind of job. These association meetings bring people together and help end that loneliness. I got more hugs than I could count last night.
- Strength Training. Most people have more than one skill. When you participate in your local association you can use some of those talents that you don't tap into while writing. Every chapter needs a treasurer, someone to make snacks for Traci, someone who likes to organize a room, someone who likes to network with speakers. If you have a talent of any kind, your genre association could be blessed by it.
- New Things to Read. Speakers bring books to sell. Other authors bring books. I also left with an advanced reader copy I am excited about. What writer doesn't love shiny new books?
- Critique Groups. This is separate from Networking not just because I needed another item. Crit groups are that important in and of themselves. Anyone who has read Foreclosed and Good, Clean Murder (My first book and my most recent book) can see what a difference a good critique group makes.
- Opportunity. This probably encapsulates everything else I've listed. Your genre association represents a great opportunity to get involved with a community of writers. I can't predict all of the doors that will open for you when you get involved, but I know for sure you will not be sorry that you did!
Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.
Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.
More of Traci's work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com