The romance writers get-together I wrote about last month? I don't think I ever mentioned, but it was the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America, or RWA. And I went again this weekend. The topic of discussion was Perfecting your Pitch and Public Speaking, in preparation for the annual RWA national conference happening this week. I also decided I'm going to join officially.
I don't write romance. I don't plan on writing romance. But the RWA is one of the few major organizations that allows membership to people who aren't published. The SFWA has a long list of things you need to have done just to join. Maybe someday I'll qualify for them, but I need help now, not after I'm being paid to write. RWA, and my local chapter especially, welcomes unpublished non-romance writers, and they give information that's good for anyone getting their feet on the ground. Not every meeting is going to be useful for me, but I don't have to go to those. I can pick and choose which meetings to go to and what information I need. The fact that I can go is what's important to me right now.
On top of good information for pitching my novel, I got an email address for a girl who's part of a sci-fi/fantasy critique group in my city. I'm going to get in touch with her and try to get involved with that. All in all, I've found a supportive, friendly, accepting group of fellow writers in real life with connections and information and experience that I need right now. It'd be foolish for me NOT to join.
Oh, and after all the talk of social networking as a writer from the last meeting, I went ahead and made myself an email account to start building a network for my penname. So far, I just have a Pinterest account, but at the least, a twitter account will follow. If you want to follow me on there, you can find me at http://pinterest.com/wanderingquille/