Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Benefits of Writing Groups AKA Join NCW

By Kathryn Mattingly

I have been an NCW member for 15 months and will continue while living in Napa, CA. Why might you ask? Because when you join a well run writing organization it becomes an invaluable tool in your writing world. If you are an introverted obsessive writer like me, it’s also important to crawl out of your cave and kiss your computer goodbye for short periods, while connecting with others in the community who are doing the same.

Morning write-ins offer you the chance to do what you would in any case - sit in front of your computer staring at what you just wrote, rewrote, or plan to write at a coffee shop. Except you can look up occasionally and see another member taking a break as well. It makes you feel less a hopeless OCD victim and more like there are other unicorns in the world.

I have enjoyed the networking nights in which you can meet, discuss, laugh with and bond among fellow writers. Beer and wine are both good helpmates for bridging the gap between one obsessed introvert and another. Be sure to bring business cards and copies of your books to lend out for honest reviews by your peers.

Regular monthly meetings offer the chance to ask questions, voice concerns and otherwise be social. NCW has both a morning and evening member meeting. This is important to know should you need to get a day job to pay for your Wi-Fi because Starbucks won’t let you spend the night.

Let’s not forget workshops you can attend to brush up on what is your current writing angst - be it characterization, plot, setting, POV, or perhaps how to get those nonfiction articles published. This is just a sampling of what I have seen NCW offer while I’ve been here, for a reasonable fee, and taught by local writers who are experts in their workshop topic. NCW will also help you get into the right critique group should you need one.

If you are one of those writers who sets up shop twelve hours a day at your corner coffee shop, you can take the money you saved on cable rip-off Wi-Fi and come to the annual fall retreat. It’s an opportunity to write in a natural, serene setting among your peers. I used to attend writer retreats twice a year and trust me - it’s a beautiful thing to recharge your batteries.

The best perk of all is the NCW’s conference every spring. Need to pitch your book and/or schmooze with agents and best selling authors? Want to listen to inspiring keynote speakers and knowledgeable panel discussions, or attend topnotch workshops? This particular conference is small but mighty, and I made several valuable contacts just by hanging out in the bar.

Top of the Mountain writing contest awards are received at the conference. Entering your manuscript is a wonderful way to get feedback by your accomplished peers and possibly walk away a winner. I plan to continue being the coordinator. Why? Because it will keep me connected to all the quite lovely people I have met and new friends I have made through NCW.

I plan to join a writing organization in Napa Valley, just as I have wherever I’ve lived. Any writer overlooking this important thread to their maddening wordsmith calling is truly missing out. It is a wonderful inroad to the craft of writing and the creative people participating within it.

Pass this on to your friends who are holding out, to let them know they will not find a better writer organization than NCW, and the member dues are a mere pittance at $4 a month. Here is the website:

I’m going to miss it. Thank you to all the writers I’ve met (and especially to April Moore the director) for making my time in Fort Collins more than just a little meaningful.

I am already planning my trip for the conference in May.

Award winning author Kathryn Mattingly has taught writing at four different private colleges. Aside from her literary suspense novels and short story collection, Kathryn’s work can be found in numerous small press anthologies and several print magazines. She coordinates the Top of the Mountain writing contest for the Northern Colorado Writer’s Conference and is a judge for the Writer’s Guild Harvest Festival in Bend, Oregon. Kathryn currently teaches a novel writing class at her local college. She has received five awards for her writing. You can visit her website at, where edgy words are unleashed.

Kathryn Mattingly ~Edgy Words Unleashed


April Moore said...

Thank you, Kathryn! We will miss you, but are so happy you will continue to be a member!

Sharell Williams said...

You are right, it is essential to turn off your computer once in awhile and encounter with other authors. Yet, for misanthropes and introverts like me, it is better to stay out crowded places. My feedback based on the reasonable combination of the thought of my readers and the team of custom essay writing service that I found back in my university. Hope it will be useful for someone. Cheers!

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