Thursday, June 7, 2018

Reach Out and Touch Your Writer Tribe! By Tina Radcliffe

Have you noticed that we’ve become a touchless society?

What happened to eye contact? Non-verbal communication? Sharing a laugh with your ears instead of LOLing our way through life? When was the last time you had the comforting hand touch or the warm hug of a writer friend to share any of the spectrum of emotional ups and downs of the writing life?   

Failure to thrive has been linked to lack of touch and emotional engagement. That means that while it’s fine and dandy to have a close relationship with thousands of followers on social media, to thrive, really thrive, we need to connect one-on-one. 

That just doesn’t happen via email or text or even with FaceTime.

Your writing tribe provides connection in a virtual and digital world, but it’s more important than ever to find that real-world connection. Tribes don’t make us whole or complete us. What’s inside of us makes us whole. That said, I encourage you to find an opportunity to meet with your tribe in real time.

What is a tribe? Jeff Goins provides a free book on the topic here. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about your people. People with the same goals and visions for their writing. Like-minded people, you connect with on a spiritual and mental level. You don’t have to have the same belief system but you get each other in regard to your writing. These are not your fans or your family. I am referring to your peers. YOUR PEEPS.

An amazing thing happens when you meet with your people. A buzz of refreshing, excitement and enthusiasm happens. BTW, if this does not occur with your tribe, you should ditch that tribe.

Conference season is upon us. From now through late fall, organizations such as RWA (Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and their local chapters will be offering opportunities to attend conferences that range in size and price point from modest to more expensive.

I highly recommend starting out small. Look up your local ACFW or RWA chapters. Get on their mailing list. Check monthly to find out when special programs are scheduled. Most will be open to the public for a slightly higher fee. Also, most of these organizations will allow you to attend one or two of their monthly meeting free before you have to join.

Where to find those local meetings? Here’s a resource list for you:

RWA Chapters here.
ACFW Chapters here.

Last year I created a list of conferences for the Seekerville writing blog and it’s still available in the archives.  

Poets & Writers provides a list of literary events under Find Your Community.

Conferences or workshops may not be in your budget for this year, but start thinking about ways that you can get to those real-time events.

In my early conference days, I asked for cash gifts for all holidays (Groundhog Day present-YES!) and applied them toward my conference fund.

Get creative with ways to get yourself to your tribe. I knew I’d made it the day I could book a hotel for conference and not have four other roommates. But you do what you have to do to get yourself to your tribe when you are starting out. 

Real-time is more important than just connecting physically. It’s important to connect spiritually and mentally.

Meeting face-to-face with an editor, agent, mentor or other publishing professional provides you with priceless mileage. Networking has benefits that provide ROI (return on investment) for many years. And remember that the magic can happen anywhere at a conference, in an elevator, a cab, a restaurant. However, you have to show up for that to happen. 

I don’t attend conferences every year, but when I do, me, the non-hugger looks for opportunities to embrace my peeps. This year I’ll be at RWA Denver, ACFW Nashville and Put Your Heart in a Book, in New Jersey. You can also find me at my local RWA chapter meetings, Valley of the Sun Romance Writers or my ACFW local chapter, Christian Writers of the West.

What about you? Where can I find you for a hug, some non-verbal communication or a laugh? What conferences and workshops do you recommend?

Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany, and ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From there she moved to Colorado. A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance. Find all her social media links on her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter which specializes in fun and free goodies.

Additionally, Tina has a new initiative launching in June of 2018. The Writer's Inside Edition is a once a month newsletter for fiction writers of all levels that brings you curated links to: The best publishing news on the web. Contest, conference & workshop listings. Writing opportunities scoured from the web and inside sources. First notification of enrollment in her workshops and classes. Monthly writing world articles created just for the Inside Edition Writers. Critique opportunities and writing challenges. Best all, there is no charge, and it’s free from annoying promo.

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