Professional Affiliations for Writers

A little over a year ago, Maximum Impact hired a project manager, Heidi Johnson, to join our team. The changes that Heidi’s skill set and precision have enabled are too many to list. But they aren’t too many to feel grateful for, and I most certainly do! Perhaps of most use to others in the literary field, is some of the networking and expansion Heidi’s assistance has enabled me to do via professional affiliations for writers. I knew about the biggies–the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) and North Carolina Writers Network (NCWN). But as it turns out, there are many more opportunities to get involved, even from a distance, with professional and supportive writing associations. Here’s a brief list of what I’m proud to be a part of, and I encourage other to explore similar organizations in their own countries or state/province regions:

  • I’m an individual member of AWP (highly recommended) which gets me database access to their vast Writer’s Chronicle features archives, a significant conference discount, access to their jobs list, and much more. Soon, Maximum Impact will “upgrade” to a WC&C membership through AWP. If you’re not familiar with this, you don’t have to be a business or a member of WC&C to apply for their scholarships, which are really useful if you want to take a class or grow professionally.
  • I’ve also joined the Chicago Writers Association, not only because this is a city I often visit for literary and professional events, but because Flashes of War has a decently strong following in the Midwest. Even though I’m not on book tour anymore, being a part of this groups discussions and keeping up about their conference (though I don’t attend), helps me know “what’s pressing” and current in a region I care very much about.
  • The same goes for Michigan Writers, of which I am also a proud member. Their newsletter reads like poetry and is a true delight of resources. It’s inspiring to see, each month, just how much is offered in one relatively small region of a very large state. This organization also publishes a literary magazine, Dunes Review, and hosts an annual chapbook contest for prose and poetry that is highly recommended. You don’t have to live in Michigan to submit, but you do have to be a member–well worth it!
  • Last year, I joined the International Women’s Writers Guild via a recommendation from fellow artist and writer, Suzi Banks Baum. They offer free prompts via email every Friday, free book discussions and “hot topic” conversations (every now and then), and their “members only” parts of the website provide a fair amount of resources for budding writers or writers seeking to network globally. From my experience in the past year, I have learned that this group is humility in action. They are organized, professional, and full of heart.
  • North Carolina Writers Network: I’m embarrassed to confess I lived in this state for over 12 years before I finally joined NCWN but, like Michigan Writers, their newsletters are a wealth of resources and inspiration–especially the curated contest entry reminders and calls for submissions to writing pertinent to my region. If you have a similar such organization in your area, check it out. It’s been inspiring for me to identify as “a North Carolina author” and learn more about the literary family I’m a part of.

While these organizations might be all myself and my business need for the time being, there are, in fact, a few more on my radar–Women on Writing, Detroit Working Writers, 49 Alaska Writing Center (which I’ve taught for in the past), to name a few. And if this kind of literary stewardship is your thing, you’re not alone. I hope this is useful and inspiring, and please post if you’re aware of additional resources!

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