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. www.tinaradcliffe.com

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.



Falling for the Cowgirl (Big Heart Ranch Book 2)
 
She won the job…
 
Can he win her heart?
 
Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart.
 
Preorder link  http://a.co/exgvsmo

 
 

54 comments:

  1. Tina, welcome to Seriously Write! If I was attending a conference this year, I'd for sure find you for a hug! And conversation and coffee!

    Congratulations on your initiative! I just signed up, and a big congrats on Falling for the Cowgirl.

    I hope you have a great day!

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  2. Great post, Tina! I've only attended one area ACFW meeting (about two hours from me), but it was a wonderful experience and I can't wait to go again. Congrats on your new book, Falling for the Cowgirl, and for the launch of Writer's Inside Edition! I'm signed up and looking forward to the first newsletter!

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    1. Thank you, Miss DOUBLE GOLDEN HEART FINALIST!!! I am looking forward to reaching out and hugging you some day soon.

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  3. Tina, awesome post! I just have to say I love, love, love Falling for the Cowgirl. I connected with that book!

    Tribe: I got Jeff Goins book. I'll have to read it. Is your tribe your critique partners? I was more involved with a chapter group for ACFW, but then the meetings moved too far away. If it hadn't been for these meetings, I probably wouldn't have continued writing. They were a great group of people! Conferences are not close or cheap, but I plan to one day get there. Just knowing you have someone in your corner, cheering you on, helps so much, but that face-to-face contact can't be beat. To see someone's eyes light up as they celebrate with you is awesome!

    How do I become a part of The Writer's Inside Edition? I somehow missed this.

    So thankful for you Tina and all the things you do. You have a heart for writers and it shows.

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    1. My tribe is my friends. Seekerville friends, online friends, writing sister friends.

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    2. Sign up, Sally. It's a newsletter and there is a link! Thanks for the kind words on Falling for the Cowgirl!

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  4. Hoping for a face-to-face Tina hug in Nashville, although your email hugs are pretty good too. Thanks for a great post. I'm looking forward to reading Falling for the Cowgirl as soon as it appears on my Kindle!

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  5. Tina, I loved this post!! Such wisdom here from a wise, super-talented Author. :)
    I'm excited about the launch of Writer's Inside Edition and have signed up. You are so kind to share your knowledge with others.
    Cannot wait to see you at ACFW---and yes, I *will* give you a HUG!! (I'm a hugger---even hug my doctors, LOL). ;)
    Congratulations on your newest Love Inspired book---since I've already read it, I can say it's highly recommended!
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

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    1. Patti Jo, I can so see you being a hugger! Im a semi-hugger.

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  6. And before I go grab my coffee..thank you to the Seriously Write team for having me.

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    1. I'm so thankful you're visiting Seriously Write! You wrote a fantastic post.

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  7. so true. When I joined a group blog I thought it would help me 'professionally' (Publishers wanted to see that an author has a platform, right? Years ago we were all expected to blog daily!) But what was much more important was having other authors to turn to with questions and yes, whine and rant with. Another awesome post, Tina!

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    1. Debra! Who I first met when I got her lost one one one in DENVER!!

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    2. It was a blast! We were never lost. We were exploring Denver! Super great memories, and you've been an amazing encourager ever since!

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  8. And Terri Weldon, thanks for the invite. Happy Thursday, everyone. May it be a profitable writing day.

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  9. Good morning, Tina! Our writer's tribe - yes!!! Such great points you made. Sometimes, to find our tribe, we must willing to put ourselves out there.

    That said, not every niche is right for us. Years ago, I was a member of a writers group where one individual seemed to run (*a-hem* "ruin") every meeting. She talked over the speakers. The lunches were not to her taste. (Pun! LOL) The room was always too hot/cold. We members were "not quite there yet" (nor would we probably ever be.) Once, she actually took out a notepad during a speaker's presentation and doodled a magnificent set of cartoon characters - as she set at the table right in front of the speaker! Kid You. Not.

    What could have been a lovely "tribe" disintegrated into a handful of battle-worn members.

    Ahhh. However - the last several years I've connected with a local writing group, and even though I don't get to attend as much as I'd like, it's such a great time of fellowship and learning.

    I love your newsletter and your new writing initiative. Your heart for writers (and people!) resonates in everything you do. AND I hope I get to hug you at ACFW!!!! Prepare now!!!!

    Congratulations on your continued success!!!!

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    1. Thanks, Cynthia! Debut author. I love your newsletter too.

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  10. Hi Tina! I’m so disappointed I can’t make it to any conferences this year but one of these years I sure want to meet you face to face and grab a coffee. I’ve been to two NJ conferences and they put on a lovely weekend. Maybe next year will be my year to meet some of my tribe. And I’m looking forward to reading your Writer’s Inside Edition too!

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    1. We shall, Laurie. Until then I will cheering at your book birthday!

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  11. Tina! Good to see you here! Yes, the buzz from talking face-to-face increases my writing energy. Just recently I spent some time with my author DIL chatting about our stories and where we are heading as authors. The Emerald City conference is the largest one I’ve attended. It was awesome! My dear online group keeps my writing dream alive. Someday I will meet them in person! Thanks for your encouragement to look for a local group. Blessings!

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    1. I just looked at the details for Emerald City. It is so on my bucket list.

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  12. Happy to hear from you, Tina! Connecting is delightful. I've watched how Facebook has kept my 90-year-old mother connected to family members scattered across the States. Words and pictures are powerful and she'd be so very lonely without this great vehicle. However, as you say, nothing beats touch, an actual physical hug!

    I wish I was headed for a conference this year, but circumstances doused any hopes (well, not true, one can always HOPE!). I've attended several in the past and always came away refreshed and motivated!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the links! Happy Thursday.

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    1. Soon, our ships will sail into the same harbor, Kathryn. I just know it.

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  13. Nice article, Tina! Good advice. Hoping to attend a conference and meet sweet writer friends face-to-face someday. Take care!

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    1. I keep looking for an OHIO conference, Jess. I really mean that. I will find you!!!!!

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  14. Tina, I had to sneak over and get a hot chocolate. It's pouring here and the rain makes it feel cold.

    I'm so excited about your new project and I signed up for it!

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    1. How do you come up with all these great ideas?

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    2. I miss rain. I desperately miss rain.

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    3. Great ideas? After Seekerville I found myself still wanting to share stuff I find. I am like a pig sniffing out truffles for trivial info. So I decided to do the newsletter. Woke up one day with idea. Must be a God thing.

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  15. Hi Tina! Excellent advice. As that rare breed, an extroverted writer, I don't know how I'd survive without my local ACFW cluster and the friends I've made there. We usually get together several times between meetings as well for write-ins. I just returned from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and definitely felt I was with "my people." Blessings!

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    1. WOW, Kelly! Good for you. You are doing it right!

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    2. Kelly, BRMCWC is on my bucket list! Seems like every May, though, something else takes priority.

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  16. Hi Tina - wonderful post! I’m a reader - not a writer - and I love your books! Good luck and blessings!

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    1. Thanks for those kind words, dear reader. Hugs out to you!!!!

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  17. I will be attending the She Speaks Studio conference in September. Also, for the past two years I have attended Writing To Inspire Christian Writers Workshop in Frederick MD. I am hoping to attend ACFW and RWA conferences in the future. I enjoy learning from other writers. :-)

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    1. This is good to know, Melissa. I have a son in the MD area. I can do a trip that would be double duty. Thank you!

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  18. Good morning, Tina! I agree, there's nothing better than meeting your tribe in person. I can't say enough about conferences and local groups. However, my Sisters online tribe is unique in that they have staying power and heart.
    But, as you and many others have said here, that's not always the case. I feel blessed beyond measure, both by online groups and local groups.

    I can't wait to hug you at a conference! You've inspired me in so many ways, professionally, spiritually, and have lifted me up when I needed it most. Big virtual hugs to you and my Sisters this year. I'm aiming to meet you all at a conference in the near future and deliver in person.

    Hugs!

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    1. Cannot wait, Yvonne. Each year I toy with the idea of coming to the Nebraska RWA Winter mini conference. So many friends in Nebraska!!!

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  19. TEEEEEENA!!!!! I cannot wait to see you at ACFW in a few months!!! It's been way too long, girlfriend!

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    1. I know, me too! I am so jazzed. No conferences since 2015. I am starving for my TRIBE!!!

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    2. Tina - the last conference I attended was 2015! But unlike you I won't be at RWA or ACFW this year. I miss seeing my friends face to face. So I'll have to start requesting Ground Hog Day gifts of cash 💰. Then maybe I can make it to one next year.

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  20. RWA NYC, Terri. The biggest, the best and the brightest. EVERYONE IS THERE.

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  21. Tina, I love this article about writing peeps. I will be at RWA2018 Denver and I'm already planning for RWA2019 NYC. As far as local RWA chapters and conferences, I invite any writer in the Southeast to think about coming to Moonlight and Magnolias in October, a wonderful conference sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers. There are editor and agent appointments and I'll be presenting a workshop. If I can also give a shameless plug for Georgia Romance Writers since this is discussing writer peeps, the next program is on June 16 and our speaker is Katharine Ashe. I love discussing brainstorming, writing, editing, and beyond with writers and always look forward to talking to writers in person. Thank you so much for the insightful comments, Tina.

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  22. M and M is at the top of my bucket list! Totally cannot wait to see you again, Tanya!!

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  23. Tina!!! I can't wait to hug you at RWA and ACFW! It's amazing to hang out with other writers. Makes me feel like I'm not nearly as weird as I think I am. We're a strange but delightful community, no? :)

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    1. That is totally the beauty of hanging with your peeps. People who think the way you do. And at conferences, it doesn't matter what you write..only THAT you write.

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  24. Tina, it has been so much fun having you on Seriously Write today. I love spending time with you via electronics or face to face! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and thanks for all the great links you provided.

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  25. I'm telling you Terri, I am coming back to Oklahoma soon. Maybe spring for the release of book 4 of Big Heart Ranch and you and I can do a road trip to Pawhuska and visit the Merc.

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