Local and regional writers organizations
Looking for a local writers association, community, group, guild, or league? Or for a national or international group with local branches? Listed here are official local and regional groups, but sometimes the most effective local groups for writers and/or editors are informal groups. For freelancers, such a group is one way to alleviate cabin fever.
One group of magazine writers, editors, and book authors, for example, began meeting once a month for networking sessions, and the group grew to about 50 people. The group invites guest authors to give 20-minute talks, after which members network. Members bring dishes to share, no fees are charged, and members find work through the networking.
Another, smaller, group meets the same day and place every week, after office hours, just to schmooze, vent, gossip, give and ask advice. Some groups meet to critique each other’s work. Some meet to discuss special-interest topics (such as Victor Block's group in DC, which discusses travel writing). At the bottom of this page you'll find Kathryn Lance's description of Tucson Women Writers, which I post here as a model of how you can start your own local group.
If you don’t know of any such group where you live, start one. It’s comforting to have a local support group with which to vent, brag, query, bitch and moan, and exchange shop talk. Meanwhile, the larger organizations provide a place to make connections and learn about your craft. Sometimes their strength lies in practical features such as health insurance. (Disability insurance is harder to come by for writers; insurance firms think a writer wants to stay home and write the great American novel.) On the whole, you get a lot more out of a group if you are active and visible. You are unlikely to get referrals or make friends if you just sit and wait for things to come to you. If you make friends with people AND you do good work, and your name comes to mind when opportunities arise, then belonging to a group can work for you, both personally or professionally, if the group is a good fit for your skills and personal preferences.
You'll find more local and regional organizations listed under science writers and under specialty writing (where you will find many regional sports and writing organizations, including groups such as Southern Bowling Writers). Also, many, if not most, national organizations, have local chapters, so if you find a national organization that suits your interests, check to see if there are local chapters. And if you don't find something local, check out online communities (and critiquing groups) for writers and editors.
Abilene Writers Guild
Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta (AMMSA), which has a Community Access page.
Alabama Media Professionals
Alabama Writers' Forum
All states: Writers Groups by State (Freelance-Zone.com)
Amherst Writers & Artists
Appalachian Author's Guild
American Independent Writers (AIW), formerly Washington Independent Writers, in Washington DC. This organization in 2012 is either critically ill or dying--the September conference was cancelled and Donald Graul said refunds would be issued.
Arizona Children Book Writers and Illustrators
Atlanta Writers Club
Authors of the Flathead (Montana)
Association for Women Journalists (AWJ, Springfield, Illinois) '
Bay Area Editors' Forum (BAEF), strong organization in San Francisco Bay area
Boulder Media Women (BMW, Colorado. has been meeting for 20 years)
California Chicano News Media Association (CCNNA, Latino Journalists of California)
California Writers Club
Chesapeake Bay Writers Club (a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club)
Chicago-Area Writers Resources (maintained by Writers Workspace)
Chicago Women in Publishing (CWIP)
Chicago Writer Resources Guide (Chicago Writers Association)
Chicago Writers Association (CWA)
Colorado Authors' League
Colorado Springs Fiction Writer's Group (CSFWG)
Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association (CAPA)
DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA, pronounced duck-swa)
Dallas Area Writers Group (D.A.W.G.)
Eastern Ski Writers Association , part of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association
Easter Shore Writers' Association , holds Bay to Ocean Writers Conference in February
East of Eden Writers Conference (always held in Steinbeck Country--Salinas, California--sponsored by South Bay Writers (Santa Clara Valley branch of the California Writers Club)
Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA, /a> its regional U.S. chapters)
Fellowship of Southern Writers (FSW)
Florida Writers Association (local FWA writers groups in Amelia Island, Avon Park, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Bradenton, Brandon, Brooksville, Casselberry, Celebration, Daytona Beach, Fleming Island/Orange Park, Hallandale Beach, Havana, Jacksonville, Kissimmee, Lady Lake, Lakeland, Longwood, Maitland, Melbourne, Mount Dora, Ocala, Orlando, Oxford, Palm Beach, Palm City, Palm Coast, Pembroke Pines, Pone Vedra Beach, Port Orange, Sanford, Sarasota, Sebring, St. Augustine, St. Lucie County--Treasure Coast, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Wellington, and Wesley Chapel)
Geneva Writers' Group (expats in Geneva)
Georgia Writers Association (GWA)
Great Plains Writers Group (nonprofit group to support developing writers of memoir, autobiography, and personal essays, based in Lawrence, Kansas)
Gridiron Club (invitation-only social club for Washington Journalists)
Grub Street (nonprofit writers center in Boston)
Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA, Florida)
Hawai'i Island Writers Association (HIWA)
Kitchen Table and regional groups (local writers groups, organized through International Women's Writing Guild, IWGG)
League of Utah Writers
League of Vermont Writers
Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains
Loft-sponsored writing groups (The Loft Literary Center, Twin Cities)
Los Angeles Press Club
National and international associations with local branches:
• International Women's Writing Guild (IWGG)
• Mystery Writers of America
• National Association of Science Writers local groups include
----Northern California Science Writers Association (NCSWA)
----Northwest Science Writers Association
----DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA) (pronounced DUCK-swah)
----Science Writers in New York (SWINY)
----Science Writers Association of the Rocky Mountains (SWARM)
----New England Science Writers (NESW)
----Penn State Association of Science Writers
----Science Writers on Facebook (Science Writers)
----(there may also be local science groups in Chicago, Georgia, San Diego, Virginia, and Wisconsin)
• Romance Writers of America
• Sisters in Crime
• Society for Technical Communication (STC) (search page for 120 chapters worldwide)
• Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI)
Nebraska Center for Writers (an online resource for writers of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction)
New England Science Fiction Association, Inc. (NESFA)
New Hampshire Writers' Project (NHWP)
New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ)
New England Science Writers (NESW)
North Carolina Writers' Network (NCWN)
Northeast Texas Writers' Organization (NETWO)
Northern California Science Writers Association (NCSWA)
Northside Freelance Network (a collaborative resource and community-building tool for current and fledgling freelancers and solopreneurs, serving Chicago's far northeast side and near North suburbs)
Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA)
Northwest Independent Editors Guild (NIEG)
Northern California Publishers and Authors (supporting independent publishing)
Panhandle Professional Writers (PPW, Amarillo, Texas)
Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC, formerly Periodical Writers Association of Canada)
San Francisco Writers' Grotto (an office for the creative, self-employed people who by definition don’t need to punch a clock. From its beginnings, it’s been a place where narrative artists–writers, filmmakers and the like–welcome the discipline of structure in their work lives, and build a community of peers)
Six Nations Writers (Six Nations of the Grand River).
Southwest Manuscripters (Torrance and Hermosa, CA), "longest active writers organization west of the Rockies"
Virginia Writers Club, which has local chapters: Appalachian Authors, Blue Ridge Chapter, Chesapeake Bay Writers, Hampton Roads chapter, Hanover Writers Club, Northern Virginia Chapter, Richmond, Riverside Writers (for the city of Fredericksburg, counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George, Caroline, Louisa, Orange and all surrounding areas), Traveler chapter (meetings held in Chester), Valley Writers (Roanoke and surrounding areas).
Washington Press Club Foundation (an expansion of the Women’s National Press Club, which was formed when women weren't allowed to become members of the Gridiron Club or the National Press Club)
Western Association of Aboriginal Broadcasters (WAAB, Western Canada)
Whidbey Island Writers Association (WIWA), supported by the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (NILA)
White County Creative Writers (Arkansas)
Wild Writing Women (San Francisco Bay Area Writers Group)
Wisconsin Writers Association
Women in Digital Journalism (Seattle-area editors, writers, and producers in new media)
Women's Media Group (WMG). A New York-based nonprofit association of women prominent in various fields of media (especially book publishing, print journalism, electronic and online publishing, television and film). Membership by invitation only; if you aren't prominent enough to be invited to join, find a member who will bring you to one of their interesting lunches. From their history: "In the early 1970s, several women, friends and publishing colleagues, began meeting for lunch every now and then to talk about their jobs, their lives, their plans and hopes for the future. By the autumn of 1974, the group of five -- Judith Daniels, Elizabeth Crow, Joni Evans, Eden Lipson and Carol Rinzler -- decided the time had come to form a club. In the beginning the club grew exponentially as each of the five founders invited colleagues to join in on discussions of forming a club of like-minded women in the communications industry."
Various other women's media groups have sprung up, and if they will tell me about themselves, I will gladly list them. (Maybe they prefer to fly under the radar?)
This week a friend in Denver wrote, "the women in the Boulder Women's Media group are amazing," so I'll start there, although their main website doesn't appear to be ready yet: Boulder Media Women. BMW's freelance directory includes writers, editors, photographers, journalists, filmmakers, graphic artists, web designers, TV producers, screenwriters, publishers, agents, PR specialists, and others.
Tucson Women Writers is a small, private group of professional women writers in and around the Tucson (AZ) area. The group was started as a listserv in 2001 by a Tucson freelancer, as a way to help ease the occasional loneliness of freelancing and to share information with other like-minded writers. Over the years, the group has grown a bit, but with new members and dropouts tends to stay at around twenty members. This seems to be an ideal number, allowing everyone to get to know everyone else, yet providing a critical mass of expertise.
New members are usually found through word of mouth. Once a new member is proposed by any member, she will be accepted provided that no one (privately) objects to her within a week. The founder of the group has always put an emphasis on inviting people who are published and actively seeking publication, to eliminate mere wannabes. We are all happy to help newcomers, but that is not the purpose of the group, which instead is to provide virtual companionship, to share information, and to interact with fellow professionals with whom you can commiserate or share good publishing news.
The listserv is our primary means of communicating with each other, but we also meet in person every couple of months, for a luncheon or a happy hour. It’s always fun to put faces to names, though some members never or rarely participate in the face-to-face meetings.
In the seven years I’ve been a member I’ve found TWW to be a valuable part of my professional and virtual social life. I’ve learned a lot about local and national markets, and enjoy reading about the triumphs and awards of fellow members. I would never hesitate to ask a question, and do my best to provide assistance when I myself have answers. There is by happenstance an emphasis on travel writing in TWW, but writers of all sorts are members. Though I’m semi-retired as a writer, I am very clear that writers are MY PEOPLE, among the most generous and articulate on the planet. TWW is an exemplar of this spirit, and I think could serve as a model for any small group of writers who wish to band together.
Websites, organizations, and other resources
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WRITERS AND CREATORS
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
EDITORS AND EDITING