Write-to-Publish: the Power of a Group

I’m a joiner, and every once in a while, I’m reminded why I love groups so much. Last night was one of those times.

write to publish1.jpgI spoke to the Raleigh Write to Publish Group, where everyone had a chance to talk about their current project, whether that was a novel, a poem, a childrens’ book idea, or a work of serious non-fiction.  The thing everyone had in common was a desire to be published (some already are) and a passion for writing. Being in such company is always heady for me, but then there’s the networking aspect of such a group, which can be phenomenal. I learned that there’s a public access film studio in Raleigh, that one member’s husband is a singer/songwriter/novelist, that my favorite bookstore, Quail Ridge, is having a presentation Sunday on publishing, and that the Write to Publish groups are spreading throughout the state. If I’d stayed home last night, I wouldn’t have gathered any of that information. I also made some new friends, people I look forward to seeing again in the future. A few of us went out afterwards to continue chatting. Above, from the left are: Stacey Cochran, who is a novelist and a real mover and shaker. He’s the guy setting up the Write to Publish groups everywhere, so if you’re interested in getting a group in your area, he’s the one to contact; Sharon Kurtzman, who’s working on her second novel; novelist Andrew Baltzegar, Eileen Batson, who does the promo for Write to Publish as well as for her hubby, author/songwriter Jon Batson; Maureen Sherbondy, who just had her first chapbook of poetry published and who I met at the Opium Den (Starbucks) soon after I moved to Raleigh. I went up to her and asked if she was a writer–she had that daydreamy look about her as she sat in front of her laptop. We’ve become friends and she’s the one who invited me to speak to this group. And that’s me on the right, looking kind of like a beached whale in red, but I hope it’s just the angle of the camera. Below, the woman flanked by Andrew and Eileen is Jean Hedges, who moderates the group with class and compassion.

write to publish 2.jpgOne of the cool things about speaking to various groups is being able to be a part of them, even if only for an hour or two. I belong to too many of my own already, but I still get to soak up a little of the group spirit with every one I visit.

Do you belong to groups that share your passion, whatever that may be?


  1. Kathy Holmes on April 29, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    You know, I don’t, but I should. Being in a new area and being a lonely writer, it would sure help. I think I’ll take a step forward in that direction. Thanks.

  2. Diane Chamberlain on April 29, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Kathy, I didn’t know you were in a new area. When I moved to Raleigh, I quickly found a critique group and a book club and a neighborhood supper club. Then I sort of spread out from there as I met other people. I joined a choir, but discovered I couldn’t make my schedule mesh with theirs, so that will have to wait. Also, one of the best things I did with regard to meeting other like-minded people was writing at Starbucks. I tend to be outgoing (when I’m not feeling introverted), so meeting people there was easy for me. Too easy. I now have trouble working there because there are too many interesting people to talk to! Let me know how you make out. You certainly have a lot to share with a group.

  3. brenda on April 29, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Kathy-tell us more about your publishing company LULU??? How does that work???
    Diane-you are quite a joiner and that is great!!!! You have so much to offer others…a real gift. After teaching all day, the last thing I want to do is join a group-and I wish I were not like that…It was different before I started teaching.

  4. Stacey Cochran on April 29, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Diane, it was great meeting you Thursday night at your presentation. It was one of the most inspiring presentations on what it’s like to be a working writer that I think I’ve ever seen.
    And, yes, if anybody is interested in having me help start a Write to Publish Group in your area, please feel free to contact me. I can fly anywhere in the U.S., and am happy to help get a group off of the ground in your area.
    Thanks, Diane, too, for coming to Quail Ridge Books today. I think your comments on marketing were right on.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on April 29, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the compliments, Stacey. I really had fun with your group.
    Did you notice Brenda’s question about LuLu? If you’re still around, feel free to answer her here. Brenda, Stacey’s an expert on LuLu, which is a company that can help people self-publish their books.

  6. Margo on April 30, 2007 at 8:29 am

    I belong to a bookclub group and we meet regularly discussing our latest reads. That’s it for me, mainly because my time is somewhat limited. I have a day job and my free lance art business which has me painting everyday/night after the day job. I also prepare paintings for art shows where I meet lots and lots of people who are interested in art and talk about projects, commissions etc.

  7. Diane Chamberlain on April 30, 2007 at 9:04 am

    I’m amazed you can fit in a bookclub with everything else you have going on, Margo. I remember what it’s like to have a day job (which I DID truly love) while writing every other spare minute. Your art shows are the best sort of networking I can imagine.

  8. Margo on April 30, 2007 at 9:28 am

    I have 3 passions…art, books and piano. I make time for all 3 but you are absolutely right Diane, the art shows make a huge impact on my art business. One day I will quit the day job and focus entirely on art and piano.

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