Welcome to another post in my waning attempt to focus on one thing I'm thankful for in my life every day for 1 year. Why? Because I'm a grumpy-ass curmudgeon who finds great pleasure in grousing. I fixate on what's wrong when I have so very many things that are right in my life. So, I thought I'd try looking on the sunny side for a change! Can I do it for 365 days--from Thanksgiving Eve 2011 to Thanksgiving Eve 2012? Well, we've found the answer to that already - NO. So, maybe not daily, but weekly. Let's see if I can keep it up...
This week I'm thankful for all of my wonderful friends at the Internet Writing Workshop. http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/
I joined IWW while living in Germany, when I first decided to seriously work at the craft of writing, and knew I needed help. The IWW is an online, virtual community of practice with members from all over the world writing in different forms and genres. Members can join subgroups based on what they write - novels, poetry, romance, fiction (short stories), nonfiction, children/YA, etc. There are also discussion groups to talk about the business of writing, the craft of writing, or to analyze and discuss samples of writing. The practice group gives participants a chance to flex their writing muscles and try things they might not normally write. A weekly prompt gives a topic and word limit (usually 400 words), and everyone subs their work and critiques other submissions. The minimum participation requirement to remain active on the list is 2 posts/month, so it isn't much of a burden, but good online manners dictate that the more feedback you want, the more you'll give. People are likely to reciprocate a read/critique with one back.
I can't begin to tell you what a fabulous experience my 6 years of participating in the IWW has been, and how much it's helped me grow as a writer. My first non-scientific publications were thanks both to the lessons I learned, critiques I received, and market suggestions I received from fellow members. Same thing for Marina Melee - which was critiqued on the novels list, and specific scenes were honed on the practice list. And I found the publisher, Casperian Books, through the recommendation of a fellow IWWer whose writing I admired, who was published through them.
I am so very thankful that I found the IWW and joined. I'm thankful for the many friendships I've made through the list. At times, I forget I've never met these people face-to-face, only interacted with them online. Still, I feel so close to so many of them, turn to them for advice, and have even had long off-topic discussions with many of them. We've become Facebook friends, and email pals. They're a wonderful, helpful, supportive group. For any writers or aspiring writers out there, I'd highly recomment you look into them - us. We're a great group to be part of,.