Any new writer knows that social networking is imperative in these uncertain times of trying to be published, but a very easy and enjoyable way, if you belong to the RNA, is by joining one of the Chapters.

I belong to two, Chelmsford and London and although they are very different, the outcome is always the same; I come away feeling cheered up and have at least one more business card or email address to add to my list of acquaintances.

Each chapter is different and so is the format. At the London chapter we usually have lunch to catch up on writerly news, or any news come to that, then we retire to a separate room to hear a speaker.

We normally have a theme running through the year and the speaker is invited according to the theme. This year the theme is “Sisters are doing it for Themselves.”  No big surprise that it’s about self -publishing.  The massive rise of the ebook and the ease of publishing ‘your baby’ yourself has allowed writers to break free of the traditional route to being published and do it for themselves.  Just a quick aside here; most writers I meet still want the endorsement of being signed for a book deal; maybe we’re still an old fashioned lot or maybe we just want to feel that someone loved our story enough to throw time and money at it. But regardless, we are all united in our desire to write even though sometimes it’s like pulling teeth!

Next year we are considering ‘genres’ which I think will be interesting and have already requested that someone comes along to talk about Steam Punk which I find fascinating but confusing.

The Chelmsford meeting is normally a meal and a chat in a pub. Sadly most of us drive to the venue so we are awash with sparkling waters and diet Coke by the time we leave, but the chat is always lively and interesting. We are a very talkative lot, talking over the top of each other and across the table – I think that’s probably why they tend to put us far away in an alcove.

Most of the Chelmsford Chapter members are published so I learn a lot and my confidence is always boosted by their (possibly misplaced) conviction that I will get published one day. I have made lots of writing friends over the years so

if you need an excuse to get out of the house or away from the children for the day, make a point of coming to the next Chapter meeting- there’s one near you, I guarantee it!




5 thoughts on “Chapters

  1. Hi Jaxx, when you have a moment, do you want to go back in and add your name to the bottom? 😉 I’d do it for you but I’m logged in with my other name at the moment as I’m about to do my bootcamp blog.

    Unfortunately we don’t have a chapter near where I live in Scarborough. I believe there’s one in Harrogate but that is about 90 mins drive for me (not stupidly far in miles but the roads are bad) and another in Doncaster but that’s about the same in another direction. However, fellow Write Romantic Alex lives just an hour away which means we can meet half way in half an hour which is amazing. Perhaps one day we will set up a more local chapter as it would be great to have speakers … or maybe we’ll just keep it an informal tea, cake and gossip session.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Julie xx

  2. Hi Jaxx

    Ooh, I didn’t realise there was one in Chelmsford… I teach for the University there and so I am down that way fairly frequently and it would probably be easier than a meet up in London for me. Might be brave and see if I can gate crash the next get together! I absolutely agree about the importance of networking, but I am also quite chicken when it comes to these things – walking in to meet a lot of strangers in a pub or restaurant. However, I must try harder and will look out for an announcement about the next Chelmsford get together. Jo x

  3. Hi all,
    My only experience of these chapters was when I met Katie Fforde and we called it the “Sydney Chapter”. We only met for an hour or so but I must say that just sharing that time with another person who understood my motives and your goals, and had been through the struggle to get published, was invaluable. Not all of our chatting was about writing of course, and that’s fine too. It certainly lifted my spirits in the midst of rejection central!
    Good luck girls with your chapters…if any of you decide to come on holiday to Sydney, Australia then be sure to look me up and I’ll come along too!
    Helen R x

  4. No chapter anywhere near Brighton unfortunately. Nearest is London and far too expensive to keep going up there. I am lucky though to have a writer friend (and RNA member) down here, and another guy who writes more literary stuff. He and I read for each other which from my POV can be a bit challenging at times! Looking forward to meeting Jo and hopefully others soon though.

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