|Photo by Amy Guth
Image via Creative Commons
At Tuesday night’s panel discussion Freelancing 101, one audience member asked how could she connect with more of Birmingham’s writing groups. Honestly, I didn’t know what to tell her other than what panelist Glenny Brock said for me: “There’s no better group than See Jane Write.”
But, seriously, the very reason I started See Jane Write was because I had a hard time getting connected with Birmingham’s writing community when I moved back here 3 years ago.
After the panel discussion I was chatting with someone else who attended the event about this issue. He (Yes, “he.” See Jane Write events are so awesome even guys want to join us.) said he’s sure Birmingham has a writing scene, but it seems to be a quiet one. And that makes sense. We writers tend to be introverted homebodies who want to stay in our quiet corners and write. Or at least that’s what I hear. I’m actually nothing like that. I love to mix and mingle and the word “networking” makes me giddy. I get some of my best story and essay ideas from talking to other people.
And why should Birmingham’s writing scene be so quiet? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? As writers we need to be the voices of the city, but how can we do that if we’re hiding behind our laptops? Yes, we need that time of solitude to do our work, but we also need to be on the scene if we’re going to write about it.
My hope is that See Jane Write can begin partnering with some other local writing groups to host networking and social events. And speaking of other writing groups, here are a few I have found since I’ve been back in my Sweet Home Alabama. If you know of others, please add them in the comments section.
Alabama Bloggers — A networking group for bloggers based in Alabama. They connect online and through occasional luncheons.
Write Club — A monthly forum for local amateur writers to meet and discuss their week. Meetings are held at the Hoover Public Library.
Alabama Media Professionals — A statewide organization on professional communicators who meet monthly to network, share common problems, exchange ideas and keep abreast of the changes in the media and journalism-related industries. AMP is affiliated with the National Federation of Press Women.
Last night my organization See Jane Write Birmingham hosted its third educational event, Freelancing 101. This panel discussion featured writers and editors of top local publications and drew about 50 attendees. Complete with free refreshments and time to network with other local writers, it was a great way to spend a Tuesday night. (But I might be a bit biased.)
Are you kicking yourself for missing this awesome event? I have great news! Local photographer and educator Lynsey Weatherspoon recorded audio of the event. You can check it out here.
|Image Via Creative Commons|
I was in the 5th grade when I announced to my parents, teachers, and friends that “when I grow up I’m going to be an author.” I remember thinking that title sounded so important, so regal.
Two decades later I have yet to publish or even write a book. Sometimes I get a bit disheartened by this but I’m encouraged when I remember that I am still a writer nonetheless. I’ve written for magazines, webzines, and newspapers and I blog like crazy. I know that all the smaller projects and assignments I’m doing are good practice. And practice makes perfect, right?
In fact, writer and blogging superstar Jeff Goins says that the best way to start a writing career is to write for magazines. Goins writes:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a future novelist, nonfiction author, or journalist. Writing short-form pieces prepares you for long-form. This is a great alternative to endlessly working on multiple drafts of your book and letting it sit in a drawer for years.”
He goes on to say that writing features for magazines, websites, and other publications teaches you to be humble about your work (yes, even you need an editor) and teaches you how to meet deadlines. And on top of all that, writing for magazines usually pays.
If you’re wondering how to get started, Goins recommends writing reviews, doing interviews on your blog, and working to gigs with online publications. Read more of Goins’ suggestions here.
And you have the opportunity to learn even more on breaking into the world of freelancing. On Tuesday, May 15, See Jane Write will present Freelancing 101. This event is a panel discussion featuring successful freelance writers and editors of local publications. Click here for more information and to register for this free event.
Happy writing and I hope to see you May 15!