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Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Author and Sisters in Crime Vice President Jennifer J. Chow reflects on 35 years of the women's crime writer's organization and the five benefits of joining a writing organization—even if you're an introvert.

The introvert in me used to picture writing as a solitary endeavor. I imagined long moments of introspection, interrupted only by bouts of feverish typing. The physical process of writing can actually be accomplished alone (or not—there are plenty of co-authors, after all). While being a writer may be solitary, it doesn’t have to be lonely. Community is the solution.

(10 Great Tips on How to Write a Book With a Co-Author.)

One way of discovering connections is by joining a formal writing organization. I’ve been part of several associations across the years. With Sisters in Crime, I loved being a member so much that I eventually volunteered to serve on its national board.

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

What exactly are the benefits of joining a writing organization? There are many, but let me distill them down to five primary items:

Benefit #1: Writing Inspiration

Joining an organization devoted to writing spurs you to write more. It must be due to that constant creator energy going around. Organizations will also often offer structured opportunities to provide creative outlets for its members—take advantage of those.

For example, Sisters in Crime has frequent online write-ins of short durations, where people can come together to just write in real time. These sessions may also be moderated by veteran writers, who will provide extra craft tips before the actual writing begins. Sisters in Crime’ write-ins always end with plenty of encouragement and recognition of the work accomplished during the writing sprint.

A concentrated time for writers to meet their goals naturally happens around National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November (and its accompanying camp in the summer). Sisters in Crime has been a sponsor of NaNoWriMo before; during those intense writing months, we’ve come alongside participants by offering creativity prompts, write-ins, and even an online support group.

Benefit #2: Writing Support

Speaking of support, that’s the wonderful benefit of participating in an organization. Writers are unique individuals, so there aren’t many people who understand what it’s really like to pursue this creative path.

Sisters in Crime has an online platform that facilitates honest conversations across the membership and also breaks down topics by interest. This is a safe space to ask questions, receive answers, and cheer one another on. 

Sisters in Crime also has in-person chapters (with hybrid capabilities) spread across the United States and extending into Canada and Europe, plus an online-only group. Many Sisters in Crime members (including myself) make lasting friendships from having met first through SinC, and organically expanding that relationship.

Benefit #3: Writing Education

The nice thing about being in a large association is the ability to share accumulated knowledge. Personally, I’m always learning more about the craft of writing. Organizations are very helpful in providing multiple resources. Some of them even organize writing conferences.

Sisters in Crime provides a treasury of accessible and informational webinars. Recent topics include writing effective query letters, having fun with plotting, and structuring short stories. If you’re time-deprived, we even have short videos of one to two minutes with expert advice from noted authors. Plus, Sisters in Crime has a podcast that delivers fascinating interviews with accomplished authors about the writing journey.

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Benefit #4: Writing Advocacy

Organizations should look outward to grow their membership while also continuing to care for its members. Sisters in Crime is based on advocacy (initially for women crime writers) and is the premier inclusive crime writing organization focused on building a diverse community. We have initiatives like The Equity Project, where we have hired an outside consultant in helping us build needed resources and trainings to ensure that we all write and live with compassion.

Sisters in Crime also provides financial assistance to new writers (open to everybody, not just SinC members), including grants like The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award and The Pride Award for Emerging LGBTQIA+ Crime Writers. We’re also happy to financially help the larger writing and reading community with We Love Bookstores awards, We Love Libraries grants, and Academic Research grants.

Benefit #5: Writing Connection

At the heart of an organization are its people. If there’s enough diversity, there should be members at different stages of their writing careers and pursuing a variety of publishing paths. I love how Sisters in Crime has superstars in it, rising stars, and pre-published stars. 

It’s amazing to be surrounded by talented individuals who are or will be traditionally published, indie, or hybrid authors. These stellar people also pursue a number of different writing focuses, including novels, nonfiction, and short stories.

I wouldn’t be the author I am today without having been involved in a writing organization. There are several great groups out there, but of course, I’d love it if you joined Sisters in Crime. SinC welcomes anyone who loves crime fiction writing and reading as a Sibling into our family. I sincerely hope that you’ll find the community and support you need on your writing journey.

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