Writers can reach thousands, sometimes even millions, of people with their words, yet to practice their craft they need to spend a lot of time in solitude or isolation. Some writers prefer to remain in that obscurity, satisfied simply to release a clamoring inner voice through the keyboard. Others seek a more public outlet for their expression, compelled to build a wider audience. Both types will find support and a warm welcome at the California Writers Club (CWC) Tri-Valley Branch, a professional writing association that meets monthly in Pleasanton.
"Some writers don't care about being published by an editor in New York," observes Kathy Urban, the group's president and an author of children's books. "They just enjoy the process of writing." It can be enough to do it every day, occasionally sharing their work with a select group, she notes. "Others would like to be published, but they are afraid to put their work 'out there.' When you have someone read your work, you have to be open to criticism. We try to help people get beyond those things."
Started in 2005, the local branch officially became part of the statewide organization in July 2006. The CWC affiliation gives the Tri-Valley group both cachet and clout when it comes to developing programs and attracting speakers. As "the nation's oldest professional club for writers," which once had Jack London as a member, the CWC name is well recognized by editors, a definite asset for opening doors, Urban points out.
This year marks the CWC's centennial, and in observance the Tri-Valley branch is publishing the first anthology of its members' work. This project was long a dream of the group's original founder, Sue Tasker, who passed away unexpectedly last February. The anthology has a special significance for her and her fellow writers, Urban relates. Tasker, well known in Pleasanton for her work planning children's events at Towne Center Books, was "energetic and dynamic, and that set the tone for the whole branch. We're a young, vibrant group, very friendly and welcoming," Urban notes. The club selected 2009, the CWC's landmark anniversary, to bring the anthology to fruition, with publication envisioned for California Writers Week in October.
It should come as no surprise that the area has a solid core of talented writers eager to give and receive encouragement in a supportive circle of their peers. The club's meetings, held on the third Saturday of the month, feature either a speaker or a workshop and typically attract an audience of 25 to 40. Smaller critique groups get together more often to discuss their work in a more intimate setting.
"Sharing your work is hard thing for a lot of people to do," says Urban. So is sending it to an editor. To get published, "you can't just sit at a desk and write," she advises. "You also have to contact agents and publishers, do a lot of reading in your genre, find out what's being bought. There are a lot of different pieces to pull together to get the whole process to work."
For more information about speakers and upcoming meetings, visit www.trivalleywriters.com .
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