Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
An author's lament
Top picture: Amberg Writers' Group (August 2009)
Lower picture: Janet Elaine Smith and Billie Williams
"If only there were some sort of a writers' group," many authors complain. "Maybe then I could get inspired to keep at my writing."
It doesn't seem to matter if it is in a huge city or a rural setting. So what's the problem? My dad often told me (and I know it wasn't original with him), "If you want something done, and done right, do it yourself."
That's exactly what happened with the writers in Amberg WI when I moved up here, at the invitation (and transportation) of my buddy Billie Williams. Billie had the idea to start a writers group.
Sounds simple? Let's look at the big picture first. The population of Amberg varies between 200 (according to the local yokels) and 800 (at ePodunk.com). So how many writers can there be in a place that size? With Billie and I both living in town, we figured that was a pretty good representation of published authors.
A news article was sent to Rosella Smiley, the woman who is responsible for submitting information to the regional Peshtigo Times newspaper. It appeared in the paper, and we waited, not having any idea if anybody would show up or not.
I don't remember for sure, but I think we had 9 people at that first meeting. The number has grown to 23 members. Fortunately, since space is limited, not everybody seems to show up at the same time. Some of them have come from Niagra, about 30 miles away from Amberg, and some from Wausaukee, about 10 miles away. Some of them have been spawned by events Billie and I have conducted at neighboring libraries.
Billie does a fine job of teaching. I lend a hand (and a too-big mouth, usually) when I have something to contribute. It is, however, her "baby." She gives an assignment each month, and there is usually a 15-min. exercise to expand on it in some way during the class.
It is amazing, at least to me, as to the amount of talent there is in this little neck of the woods. Two of the members (Louise Jensen and Gloria Persinger) had their first published article to bring with them to the August meeting. I am sure there will be more following, as several of the members have begun submitting articles. Of course, rejections will no doubt occur, but even a rejection letter proves that they have done something.
So, if you are lamenting the fact that you wish you had a writers' group in your area, what are you waiting for? Contact the newspaper, the library, the schools, the churches, the bookstores, anyplace where you can get the word out. Then just get your lesson prepared, and get ready to have some fun while you share like passions with your fellow writers. If you can make it work in Amberg WI, chances are pretty good you can make it happen where you are too.