Why join Word Weavers?
Complied by Carol Barnier, Word Weavers President & Mentor
Why shouldn’t we instead just plop ourselves into a simple group of local writers who meet together on their own, with no formal organization? I recently found myself composing an answer to this very question when a woman, contemplating her own Word Weavers chapter, asked me about the plusses of joining a group like ours versus going it alone. I began to jot down a few benefits, and before I knew it, the list had really grown, and I thought it worth sharing.
1. The network. As a Word Weaver, you’re part of a much larger group than if you were on your own. What does this mean?
- More ears to the ground. This means updates on industry news, best tips on what works, etc.
- Others with niche experience you can access. For example, you may learn of a Word Weaver in Alaska who has the same plot dilemma as you, then connect and share ideas.
- The opportunity to lessen a writer’s normal isolation. First, by involvement in the local group and then by the nearly 500 across the world with whom you are connected.
- Access to big players you might not find in a mere local group. Dan Walsh? Eva Marie Everson? How about Sandra Bricker or Debby Mayne? Seriously? I get access to the wisdom and experience of these folks!? That’s just amazing to me. Even our former affiliation with Jerry Jenkins and the CWG has residual input into our organization. Several of our leaders are friends with him and chat with him regularly. Our network is growing rapidly. The benefits here are bound to increase. *Speaking of Dan Walsh, don’t miss him in this month’s Meet-a-Member column.
2. Scholarships to the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. Word Weavers owns this solid conference with top-notch speakers and workshop leaders. (My own breakthrough into Focus on the Family came via this conference several years ago.)
3. FaceBook page for members only. When something relevant to writers hits the social media, it often appears here in minutes. There are just more eyes and ears out there watching and listening for things that matter to you. When our members find something of value, they share it, which funnels it to you and your chapter very quickly.
4. The website with Members-Only information (blog, Meet-a-Member). Good stuff and growing.
5. Monthly Newsletter for members only (The Loom). It’s chock-full of writing opportunities, member news, nuts-and-bolts writing tips, and up-to-date info on what’s happening in the organization.
6. The Word Weavers Critique method. It’s so simple that you may think it a small thing. But the sandwich method, when coupled with silence from the presenter, is HUGE. It changes everything. And if you’ve ever been in a group that doesn’t follow these rules, you’ll feel the difference immediately.
7. The Word Weavers organizational structure. I’ll admit that the manual is a bit overwhelming (I’ve long encouraged a Word Weavers Lite version) but by gummy, there is a lot of information there. If you want tons of direction, you’ll find it. I was very fortunate to have followed the Word Weavers operations structure during our set-up phase, and as a result, brought four people together for that initial launch team. It achieved investment by others, active participation as opposed to passive attendance. Without it, I would have simply taken the helm and proceeded. Not a disastrous choice, but in retrospect, I’m grateful for this start-up method and the instant ownership it engendered.
8. Decreased chance of burnout. You have a network behind you. Each chapter has its own local mentor who is in contact with the chapter president monthly—sending reports from national, chatting over the phone, sharing ideas on how to handle situations that arise. Often the mentors can even come to your location and help you launch your new chapter. In addition, presidents have access to many other chapter presidents whose experience base can be mined.
9. As the number of chapters grows, we’re starting to see regional gatherings emerge. For those who aren’t yet ready for the big leap of attending a major conference, these regional events are meeting some real needs.
10. Agents value writers who have been involved in an established group. It’s an indicator that you take writing seriously and are making the effort to grow in your craft.
11. Word Weavers is gaining a reputation for producing writers noted for quality work. Several publishers are actually on the lookout for submissions from those with a Word Weavers membership.