The Way is Paved at SheWrites      

 

            When I moved to Beacon, NY, in the middle of a snow storm, from Denver, Colorado, without any friends (not a single one would follow me), I brought my clarinet, my paints, and a file called "fragments" that were all going to make it into a novel, several poems, and short stories.  As I re-invigorated my blog and pumped some badly needed hours into my webpage, I realized I left half my "platform" behind in Denver.  My reading buddies, my Denver Post friend, my bookstore support staff who are my family, all miles away.  I was already a member of SheWrites, one of the many throngs of joiners after a raving invite from the She Writes Pied Piper, Carleen Brice.  I had a window open in a She Writes pane, offhandedly looking for groups to join.  Entrenched in my blog, going off on how my cats were depressed logs, eating dry kibble like Doritos, I heard a small "ping."  Another "ping" came on through the spanking large snowflakes on my sill.  I opened the She Writes window, and there, a chat flashed up and down, pinging opinions about manuscript critique etiquette.  

            I joined in, not knowing that several chats like this take place daily on She Writes through all different kinds of groups.  I commented that genre specific critique could be beneficial.  All of the group chimed in: Staci, Abigail, Henya, Tina, Shah, Jayme and Robert.  They told me to join the group and I've been posting (or torturing them?) with my stories ever since. 

            Virtual Writer's Critique Group, created by Jayme Whitfield and Tina Deschamp's moderating, has grown to 49 members.   They welcomed me with open arms and now reap the benefits of having carefully read manuscripts, ready to submit.  Maybe not the face to face experience, but still a wonderfully supportive and motivating force.  We have a set schedule and post our stories for critique according to longer series or "onsie" shorts.   Since then, I have joined Meg Waite Clayton's group of Novelists (and Water Cooler Wednesday Chat), Bloggers about Books (Blogging Balls), and Poet Enthusiasts (Poetry Meetups).  My email is overcrammed, but I try my best to open at least five a day.  I also make a point of keeping my She Writes window open all day while I write or teach.  Some practical ways to use She Writes are to hit the tabs up top.  Under "Getting Started," there is a list of popular articles.  You can get lost in there, but reading one of those every few days or so keeps you plugged in.  Also, under "Resources" there are prompts, groups to join, and a list of blogs who take submissions.  Perusing the tabs is crucial to using She Writes fully.  There are too many great features to cover, one of them being the wonderful option where you can create your own group, anytime.  As a She Writer, I have a continually growing platform, prolific manuscripts, and a support group across the globe.  Next week, three of us are piling in my car, for a She Writes jaunt and a little literary lunch in Rhinebeck, NY.

            At the She Writes meetup for the BEA (Book Expo) in NYC, SheWrites founder, Kamy Wicoff, was amazed to hear how successful of a group to which I belonged.  (Wha?  I thought she knew how great it was!!!)  She wanted me to write a little blurb about my experience, so here it is: Blurb Newsflash - She Writes Rocks!  It's not only my blurb to write, though.  It's every She Writer, making time in their day, keeping that She Writes window open, clicking on groups, uploading stories while biting nails, gaining weight due to sitting long hours in front of a screen and popping Zebra Cakes (oh, that's only me?), taking kids to LaCrosse, then going back to the screen to chat about plot.  I think all the groups on She Writes are successful, because, no matter what, we're connecting the dots, like Steve Jobs endorsed in his graduate speech at Stanford's Reed College.  Our job at She Writes (besides our tears staining our keyboards, or is it sweat?) is to stay connected.  Whether we're blog hopping for the weekend or meeting locally at a bookstore, restaurant, etc., we are poking dots down in the dust, to connect.  When we look back on our days at She Writes, we'll have a whole lot of SheWriters bending over pebbles, using pens to smooth cement, kicking stones into place that slowly add up to our writing success.

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Tags: #things we care about, She, groups, success, support, writes, writing

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Comment by Elisabeth Kinsey on June 20, 2011 at 9:40am
Thanks, Kamy, Jean, and all shewriters.  :)  Got to read some Ms.'s now.  :)
Comment by Kamy Wicoff on June 19, 2011 at 4:50pm
Elisabeth, YOU ROCK!!!!  Thanks so much for sharing this.  And thank you to all for your warm and supportive comments.  This place is only as good as the members of our community, and damn, you guys are good. :)
Comment by Jean Ellen Whatley on June 19, 2011 at 12:57pm

Hi Elisabeth,

 

Great piece and thanks for the reminder of the info at our fingertips. Just last week I used Kamy's post on self-publishing to nudge me into the yes column on SmashWords for my memoir (okay, shameless self-promtion here)A Woman With a Past: The Post-Apocalyptic Approach to Men. Having this inbiased, 3rd party info from women in my same position was very helpful.  Good to meet you in NYC and thanks for reminding us that SheWrites does rock and when we can insert a half-an hour a day, maybe while we eat a sandwich, it's worth it!  Look forward to joining you in Chicago as a speaker after my writer-who-gives-up-the-day-job-to-hit-the-road-with-her-dog-to-write-about-it-odyssey. Check it out, Off the Leash: Road Stories With My Dog. I'll be checking in with She Writes often.

Comment by C J Jackman Zigante on June 18, 2011 at 10:05am
hahaha yup thats how it gets ya !!!
Comment by Azalie Hightower on June 18, 2011 at 9:55am

I once wrote a blog entry which was playful, but truthful and I will copy it here because other techies know that distractions can be our biggest problem. Elizabeth Kinsey has a point. I am going to try to respond to at least one thing each day. Isn't that how we grow? Yes, SheWrites rocks and I want to rock too!

Stolen Heart
 

I'm sorry, but I have been naughty. I've been bad. I've been two timing you Blogstream(and now SheWrites). Actually, I've been with several other media sources. I really don't want to get them in trouble, but they were all so new and beguiling. I went just to see, you know curious. However, before I knew it, I was signing up, getting an account and responding to that single inviting question, "What are you doing?" Then I have friends who want to follow me and before I knew it, I was captured and couldn't break free. I had been Twittered!!
One day, I broke free, well almost, I still occasionally go by for a quick fix, but not like before. No, I didn't get a patch, or a pill... nothing like that. It was my Godson, Orin, who got me away from Twitter. He told me he wanted me to see his new son's pictures. To see them, I had to sell my soul to, I'm sorry, a new master...FACEBOOK. I signed up just to see the pictures. Before I knew it I found family members, classmates, old students, and new friends. I'm sorry, but I can't let go. I even stole the name Blue Notes for my picture album.
I'm sorry. I'm an adulteress and I can only blame technology. And there's one more thing... I've been looking at that new e-reader that Barnes and Noble has coming out on Nov 30. He's pretty cute and he's filled with a lot of words. His name is Nook. I will call him Nookie. No, No, No... I must not. (Got him!)

Stolen Heart
Naughty me
Naughty you
Sell our souls
so quickly and free
Twitter in a moment
Pop, Bam, Thank you M'am!
Trace your past, share your present
Write on your wall, have a ball
Share what's on your mind
A moment is all it took
To be hooked by FACEBOOK
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Comment by Komal Mansoor on June 18, 2011 at 7:34am
I think its a great place for authors, bloggers, anyone who is related to writing and reading. I simply love to be here and know authors and see their viewpoints on different aspects of writing. Keep it up, She Writes!!!:D
Comment by Kenra Daniels on June 17, 2011 at 7:00pm
Thanks for sharing, and motivating!  I've only been here a few weeks, and haven't managed to make the time to explore everything and take advantage of all the features. I'm going to start including a visit to SheWrites in my daily online routine. I have to keep it on a pretty tight schedule. Otherwise, I'll get so bogged down in blogs and writing communities that my writing won't get done. I think I can give a up a couple minutes each on several other sites, and have the time to come here and learn what all's available.
Comment by Deborah Batterman on June 17, 2011 at 11:09am
I couldn't say it better -- She Writes definitely rocks. I have yet to explore some of the resources here but I do the best I can. I love the sharing of ideas and my continual discovery of wonderful writers, blogs, etc. I'm not that far from Beacon, so one day I have every expectation of making it to a literary lunch with you, Elisabeth. Of course, if you feel the inclination to venture down to the cozy hamlet of Katonah (yes, it's a hamlet), that would be wonderful, too.  The last line of your post is simply eloquent and on the money.
Comment by Sharon D. Dillon on June 17, 2011 at 12:20am
Thank you for this thoughtful piece - and the hints of how to use SheWrites. Hopefully, I'll now become more involved here. My problem is that I spend so much time with email, reading other blogs, etc that I don't do my own writing.
Comment by Elisabeth Kinsey on June 16, 2011 at 12:05pm
Thanks all for you comments for SheWrites.  I think it is truly a unique community and a committed one.  Even when busy!  :)

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