Tag Archives: Las Vegas Writers
By Richard Warren
Stephen King once said that “writing is a lonely job.” It certainly is, just you and the pen or keyboard. Unless you are a true loner, it is important to have contact with other people regularly. Though any human contact is helpful, connecting with others who understand what you do can help you maintain your sanity. Fortunately most cities and towns have writers groups where you can socialize and network with other writers while you enhance your knowledge about various aspects of the craft and business of writing.
Groups range from a handful of writers meeting in a coffee shop to large national organizations such as the Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, etc.. Some groups may cater to a specific genre while others are more general. Some groups are great for those just starting out with others being geared to more experienced writers. Search for a group that offers what you are looking for, if you aren’t sure what that is go to different groups until you find one that feels right.
You will discover many different formats as you explore the groups. Some are created more for socializing and networking, others are geared toward education and will usually feature speakers on various writing related topics, groups exist that deal primarily with craft and writing techniques and still more focus on critiquing the work of their members. Attend the group or groups that offer what you need or want the most and see if they will be a good fit for you.
To get the most out of any group you should get involved. Offer to help out or join the volunteer team. This will allow you to get to know more people and increase your own visibility within the group. Being involved may also allow you to have a voice in the direction of the group. Your role in the group may also open doors for you in the local writing community as you become known as an active participant rather than simply a spectator.
Perhaps the most valuable benefit of joining a group is the connection you are able to make with other writers and people in the literary community. You may be able to find a mentor or a sounding board for your ideas and will probably make new friends. That’s why it’s important to feel comfortable and welcome in whatever group you choose. So find one or more local groups and join but remember, the more you put into it the more you will get in return. It’s a wise investment.
As our founding fathers were signing the Declaration of
Independence, Benjamin Franklin was staring at a chair. On the back was carved an image of the sun; Dr. Franklin was trying to ascertain whether the sun was setting or rising and if that was a portent of doom or a beacon of hope for the fledgling nation. More than two centuries later many Americans are deploring the upheaval in world of the printed word. But are these changes a harbinger of literary decline, or the dawn of a new age?
Throughout history technological advancements have altered the literary landscape. Gutenberg’s printing press was a quantum leap for the written word and quill pen-wielding monks in monasteries were no longer the primary means of reproducing manuscripts. Without the printing press literary works such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales would never had been so widely read, nor would they have inspired a whole new generation of writers resulting in a marked transformation in the evolution of literature. Today the word processor and personal computer have made it even easier and a whole new pool of writers have joined in.
Many of us in the older generation have been lamenting the loss of our literary traditions. Bookstores are closing, publishers are struggling, and newspapers are seeing readership decline. While we are bemoaning the sea changes wrought by the technological revolution, a new generation has been embracing its advances. Rather than shrinking the literary marketplace, the internet has created an unprecedented need for content. Literature is not dying; books such as the Harry Potter series have enthralled legions of young readers. Interest in writing is not declining, it is thriving.
Here in Las Vegas there are many local writers groups including the Henderson Writers Group and the Las Vegas Writers Group, which has an active roster of more than three hundred members. Creative writing courses at the University of Nevada Las Vegas were so much in demand this spring that extra classes were added in both basic and advanced writing. UNLV also boasts one of the country’s most highly regarded creative writing programs at the Masters Degree level. Attendance at the Vegas Valley Book Festival seems to grow every year and many successful authors call the Las Vegas area home.
Writing and literature are not dead; they are changing just as they always have. Rather than mourn the loss of what is gone or fading into the past, embrace the wonders that are yet to come. As Benjamin Franklin said those many years ago, “now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”