Tag: Valentine’s

Celebrate Writers

authors rockValentine’s Day was twelve days ago but it’s never too late to celebrate. On Saturday my writers group, VIRA, held our annual luncheon. At one time, we held a formal ceremony with volunteer awards, writing awards and mentorship awards.  Over the years we’ve simplified. We’re all volunteers, so we all got a box of chocolates. Instead of a few door prizes, we all took home a party favour. I got a painted stone that says “Authors Rock.”

We used to arrange a set meal, now we all order individually from the menu. It makes life easier for the organizers and each attendee gets her own choice of food.

What hasn’t changed is the good will and good wishes. With 27 women and 1 man in a small room with bare floors, bare walls and a bare ceiling, the din was deafening. But it was a cheerful din, punctuated with bursts of laughter and lots of cheers.

We heard from a writer who wrote her first book while living in the Yukon with three small children at home. The weather was too cold to go outside and the view from her window presented only a landscape of white.

In search of her sanity, our author decided to write a book. She composed at twenty-one words per minute on an electric typewriter. By the time the book was finished, she’d achieved 60 wpm and a request from a publisher. Major celebrations followed. Sadly, the publisher decided to pass on the finished ms.

More stories followed and life went on. With the children grown and gone, our author re-edited her masterpiece. This time, 37 years after she first put fingers to keys, her book was published with a traditional publisher.

From the joy in the room when this tale was told, one would think we’d all been offered a writing contract. Writerly kindness in abundance.

It’s been said many times that writing is a lonely and often discouraging business. That’s why it’s important to celebrate even the smallest of steps, and to find a group of friends who “get” what it means to be a writer.

It was a lucky day for me when I found this group of authors. There is so much kindness and encouragement — and the most interesting people.

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Yay VIRA

Another snow day! Frankly, I’ve had enough.  The first one or two are fun, an unexpected holiday, hunker down by the fire, write, write, write.  But being housebound is getting old!  In this part of the world, we should be out in the garden.  In fact, I pruned fruit trees on the weekend, but Monday saw more snow.

I’m feeling a little cranky just now, but I am grateful that snow was no where in the forecast when VIRA held its annual Valentine’s lunch. February, Valentine’s, romance – seems a perfect combination.

For years this event was mandated by our association with Romance Writers of America® and included lots of awards for writing and volunteering. We had a keynote speaker, usually someone with a first sale – that was in the days when traditional publishing was the only way to go.

Life, and particularly writing life have changed since those early days in my career. Our group is no longer associated with RWA® but we still want to celebrate our craft and each other so, Valentine’s continues to be a highlight of our year.  We’ve cut down considerably on the formality of the occasion although we still celebrate successes and milestones.  This year we had a few more speeches than last.  I enjoyed them.  They reminded me of what it means to be a romance writer, encouraged me to embrace the new business model in  publishing and to set goals for myself for the coming year.  But mostly I enjoyed hanging out with other authors, exchanging war stories, comparing writing routines, hearing the latest from conferences others had attended.

I’d been feeling a bit isolated in my writing. I have an on-line partner whom I treasure, but nothing beats face to face.  As though to underline my feelings, I just read a blog this morning proclaiming just that notion.  “No writer succeeds alone,” and “Everyone needs support” were two of the section headings.  Yes, thought I.  Perhaps it’s because here in North America we’re in the depths of winter that there is a longing for friendly company, perhaps it’s just the fact of being a writer spending long hours alone with my thoughts, but February is definitely a time when I’m glad I have writer friends to share the journey.  We may not write the same kind of books, we may not read the same kind of books, we may be traditionally published or e-published, we may spend hours on social media or we may find social media the greatest time-suck going.  What we share is the struggle and passion of putting words to paper, of creating a story from nothing but our own imaginations, of having that euphoric moment when we write “the end.”

Merci, mes amis.  You make the journey fun.

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