Although writers are often thought of as lone wolves, most are constantly seeking ways to improve their skills and fine-tune their work for a readership. Getting and giving educated criticism, as well as the enjoyment of sharing ideas, tips and fellowship, is an integral part of their creative process.
For writers living in the northern areas of California, there is a great network of community workshops and clubs available to encourage and stimulate just such a process.
Writers in the Sacramento region may wish to check out the Sacramento Suburban Writer’s Club, which has been serving area writers since 1955. This group meets monthly at the Fair Oaks Library, and features critique groups tailored towards specific genres. Speakers are often invited to the meetings, and handouts with tips and motivational methods are distributed. The Club is open to experienced and new writers alike. Members are encouraged not only to participate in groups for genres in which they are experienced, but also any they may wish to explore. There’s also a newsletter each month to keep members updated on trends, publications, conferences and other events for writers in the Sacramento area.
The California Writer’s Club, commonly called CWC, is available to writers in many different areas of California. One of the most active groups in Northern California is the South Bay Writers, based in Santa Clara. This group publishes anthologies of their members’ work and encourages sharing on the web with their own Members Gallery. There is also a web page devoted to members to facilitate promotion of their own books. Promotion of the work of its members is a main benefit of the California Writer’s Club in general, and the South Bay Writers in particular. The South Bay Group’s newsletter is published quarterly. One of the more interesting highlights for the club is the South Bay Writer’s monthly dinner, which features appearances by speakers. They also host open mic events. The South Bay Writers offer various levels of membership for Active, Associate, and Supporting members, as well as a special Lifetime Membership. Active and Associate members are eligible to receive discounts to California Writer’s Club events throughout the state. There are also half year memberships available. Students can become members for only $10 a year to those between the ages of 16 and 22, with waiver of the usual one-time initiation fee. This opens up a great learning opportunity for young writers in the region. South Bay Writers accepts writers in all levels of experience.
The Inland Empire Branch of the California Writer’s Club meets the fourth Saturday of each month from 10:15 a.m. until noon at Borders in Montclair. First time visitors are admitted free of charge, presenting a great opportunity to investigate what the club is all about. Guests can pay $5 a meeting afterwards. If they decide to join these meeting fees can be applied to their membership. The Empire Branch puts out a monthly journal appropriate called Fresh Ink, which takes contributions from all its members. They offer Active, Associate, and TWIGS memberships. The TWIGS membership is for beginners 12 – 21, with a fee of only $10 per year. The only other requirement is TWIGS members must be enrolled in school. These youthful members receive some valuable education and mentoring for such a small fee. Applicants for Active membership are required to submit clips or resumes of publications. Associate member applicants qualify through submission of copies of works in progress.
San Francisco/Peninsula Writers feature a mentoring program, lots of contests, and open mic nights. They also have a book exchange, and books that aren’t picked up are donated to the local libraries. The mentor program features guest speakers, tips and instruction. There is a young writers program for young people ages 5 – 17, which is actively seeking members and volunteers. The group is planning age-appropriate workshops and readings.
If you are a writer, don’t hesitate to seek out a writing club in your area. Let your light shine! Seek out one of the writing clubs in your region. They are one of the best opportunities to share and receive a valuable education at the same time.