Friday, August 19, 2016

What the Writers Guild Has Done for Me

Image from here

I guess I never really thought about joining a writers guild until I was invited to speak at a guild meeting last year.  My eyes were opened.  You see, I always thought a writers guild was something like a book club or a quilting guild where you got together to write.  I never wanted to get with anyone else to write.  I write better on my own.  I had entertained the thought of attending a romance writers meeting but only because I wanted to hear the guest.  Then I showed up at the East Texas Writers Guild meeting to talk about grammar.

I was captivated.  Instead of stuffy people with one eyebrow raised and glasses perched down their noses, I found warm, personable, friendly people who have the same passion I do for writing.  They listened attentively, participated eagerly, and, without even asking, persuaded me to join their group.   That meeting literally changed my life.  What has the guild done for me?

1.  It has given me a good boost of motivation to write.  When you have someone asking you what you have written lately, it prompts you to write because you want to have something to tell them.

2.  It has given me a sounding board.  Being among others who have experienced and are experiencing the same frustrations in their writing that you are is comforting and uplifting.

3.  It  has provided writing opportunities in the form of contests and anthologies. I have entered several contests (I actually won a small one!) and have been published in our first guild anthology.

4.  It has provided opportunities for networking with published authors who are willing to share their mistakes and experience so that I don't have to make those same mistakes.

5.  It has provided opportunities for critique groups and mentoring.  I haven't mustered up the courage to join a critique group yet.  I don't think my skin is thick enough, and I have a mean independent streak, but never say never.

6.  It has provided access to a public relations company which has promoted my books and helped me advance my writing career.  I joined Y & R PR after they spoke to our group one night.

7.  It has given me a whole new group of friends and an opportunity to use my leadership skills in working with this wonderful group of people.  In less than a year I am conference committee chairperson and membership liaison!

What has the writers guild done for me?  So much more than I have listed here. I can't recommend it highly enough.   If you are a writer who needs support and inspiration, join us, or find a group close to you!  (or Google "local writers groups")


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Still More from the Big House on Willow Branch Road

The old Calhoun farmhouse, named I suppose for the owner and landlord Mr. Calhoun, had a long driveway maybe a quarter mile long, or so it seems.  Actually, it was only about 100 yards.  My brother Allen and I would walk to the mailbox with Mama, and sometimes we walked down the road to visit with some friends, the Jennings family, which we would later go to school with.  Further down the road lived another family named Nipp.  Daddy said their house had a dirt floor, which was hard for us to imagine.  We weren't well off by any means, but none of our homes had dirt floors.  The youngest Nipp child went by the name Bidy Paul.  We thought it was because he bit people.  There were a lot of children in that family.

Image from here

To our two-and three-year-old minds, our landlord Mr. Calhoun had a funny way of talking.  He held a device to his throat to help him speak, but it made his voice sound gravelly and tinny like a machine.  We were scared of him for that reason.  We learned much later that he had to have surgery to remove his voice box, and he spoke through a stoma with a microphone.  To us he sounded like a real live robot.

Image from here

We eventually traded houses with my grandparents who lived down the road in a tiny little white frame house.  I remember having a birthday party at the big house for my third birthday, and receiving a little pink New Testament Bible, which I believe was my first Bible.  At the big house is where I saw Grandma Nunn chasing a chicken and eventually catching it and wringing its head right off its body.  I guess we had that chicken for dinner that night.  I also remember my aunts Martha and Mary telling me and Allen to wipe our bare feet on the rug so that we wouldn't get dirt in the bed.  We must have been staying the night there.

Image from here

Lots of memories were made in that big old house.  Stay tuned for tales from the little house. .  .