Thursday, February 01, 2007

WRITING STUFF: WRITING FORUMS -
DO THEY HELP?

Writing is a solitary pursuit – and we can't all be fortunate enough to live within range of a SISTERS IN CRIME chapter or a ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA group. So how can we interact with other writers? Well, blogs like this one are one way. But writers message forums are another very good resource to add to you computer's Favorites list.

I post regularly at several online forums dedicated to writing. I have done this for years, and have seen a couple of my favorite forums (NOVEL ADVICE and THE SILVER QUILL) cease life online after several fine years of operation. Right now, one of my favorite online writers' forums is ABSOLUTE WRITE.

Other forums that I post to are WRITERS BEAT and THE MYSTERY WRITERS FORUM. But Yahoo and Google are a good way to find others – just search on "writing forum" and see what pops up.

One thing writing forums can offer is the chance to chat with other writers. This can be fun and enlightening. You can learn from other writers and many forums offer critique groups, marketing information, research resources and links to a myriad of resources just for writers. You might make contacts, become involved in panel discussions, receive good criticism of your works in progress and get helpful information about the latest markets, contests, prizes and awards, as well as good information about the latest scams, too.

Many forums have separate areas for genres, novels, short stories, childrens, poetry, non-fiction, freelance, etc. Some have areas for playtime and word games or grammar, too – or political discussion, health, current events and other topics not necessarily related directly to writing.

But forum cruising can also be a colossal waste of good writing time if you are not disciplined about it. And like anonymous posting forums everywhere, there can be flame wars, name calling, bad feelings and general unpleasantness, too. Good forums are moderated by people who can keep any unpleasantness in check. Good forums which offer critique groups also offer password protection for these areas, so the likelihood of any of your work or work in progress being lifted from the site by unscrupulous folks is minimized. Good forums also ask you to register if you want to post, thus minimizing the hit-and-run flamers and spammers who might target forums looking to cause trouble or harvest information or hawk their dubious goods.

I gain a terrific amount of information, camaraderie, goodwill, interesting tidbits and genuine wonderful interaction with other writers on the writing forums. And I could easily spend a whole day doing nothing but chatting away.

So give writing forums a try – see if it's for you. You might see me there!



THREE BEAUTIFUL THINGS

A hot cinnamon roll this morning.

The Mexican Sage plants that got hit by the frost are shooting up new growth, bright green under the grey withered stems

My Dear Husband and his sister Sandra and sister-in-law Pris at dinner last night. We all went out for spaghetti. Fun! It's so great to have sisters now - another advantage of being married.








7 comments:

Jennifer Elbaum said...

I agree with you Kate that forums can be a great way to interact with other writers.

I'm also a big believer in taking a few days to read the majority of posts in the sections you're interested in, before diving into the conversations. Sometimes the question you have has already been answered a hundred times.

Now I'm craving a cinnamon roll...

Bernita said...

Yum!
My slightly dry fruit bread does not compare.
Think I'm too shy and craven for writers' forums, but the advantages are clear.

Kate Thornton said...

Jennifer - nice to see you drop by!

Yes, not everyone reads all the posts in the threads - I have been guilty of this too!

Cinnamon rolls! YAY! (but only as a treat)

Bernita, you can post in forums under a different name - lots of the people I see at your blog and at Miss Snark and Evil Editor are on Absolute Write, too.

And fruit bread sounds good - I am a big fan of (yes) fruit cake. I like it heated and crumbled up with butter. MMMMM!

Sonnjea B said...

I haven't tried the forums yet; like Bernita, I feel a little too shy for that. But maybe I'll check some out. You make excellent points about their benefits.

Marilyn said...

As someone who found your blog (and many others) through AbsoluteWrite, I agree that forums have a great deal to offer.

That said, I've learned how easily I can waste hours and hours just reading other people's posts, so I have to limit myself to dropping in once a week or so. It's hard to keep up with the flow of conversation, but that's the only way I can ever get any actual writing done...

:)

Kate Thornton said...

Marilyn - welcome!
And you are so right - it takes a lot of discipline to keep your writing on track when forums are such a temptation. I find I have to limit my participation to particular hours (and no weekends!) or I'll lose more than I gain.

Tia said...

I also like the forums at AbsoluteWrite. There seem to be a lot of established writers who hang out there, and it is a very encouraging community to be a part of!