Friday, 28 January 2011

Writers helping each other

Over all the more than thirty years since that first writer’s correspondence assignment was returned to me with comments from a published author, I have been the recipient of help and fellowship from many, many other writers. In those early years the tutors for that Famous Writers School course were the only direct contacts I had for far too long with other writers. That was in the days before personal computers and the wonderful support now possible for all of us through amazing internet support groups.

I owe so much to that first small group I ever became a member of Australian Christian Writers Fellowship but again that was only minimal because of distance to travel to meetings and a young family as well as ministry responsibilities. Then Romance Writers of Australia commenced but again still in the days before the internet! However, we were able to commence a local group of writers in our town and so my love of face to face fellowship with other writers began in earnest.

Then as well as a writer's email loop, great annual RWA conferences began and over the last 20 years I have only missed a few. There have been other great avenues of learning opportunities I have enjoyed, including being a member of Romance Writers America and their Faith Hope Love chapter and the privilege of attending one of their conferences in the USA. In more recent years there has been American Christian Fiction Writers and their wonderful, inspiring conference we went to in Denver, 2009. 
And so my “learning” journey still continues with regular face to face monthly meetings with The Society Women Writers Tasmania and also sharing in other groups via the internet and especially email loops. But I have discovered that with publication success also comes the desire to help other writers along the way as I have been helped by so many other published authors. Over more recent years there have been several opportunities to present writing workshops, share one on one with beginner writers through the RWAustralia Isolated Writers Scheme and such things as judging unpublished writer’s contests. Through all of these efforts I believe I have been blessed more, at times even perhaps learnt more than those I’ve tried to help!

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog in December, last November I was so privileged to be a tutor for three writers at a five day live-in mentorship programme in Queensland, organised by Omega Writers. I had their finished manuscripts to read before that week and then tried to help those lovely women strengthen their great stories. It was a busy time but so very rewarding for the tutor! Once again, the teacher also was taught! Here are a few of the writers and helpers who fed us! Sorry if you saw the same photos on that other blog!
One thing I simply cannot do is write poetry and I am in awe of poets. I’d like to share with you this fun poem one of those clever ladies wrote that last day. (Jo is the writer leaning on her elbow in this photo of my husband with two of the writers I mentored.) How she found time to shoot this off I do not know. I am in awe – and also very humbled she even went to the effort to do so!

They left the green isle on the ferry
Ray and his awesome wife Mary
Car filled with books
They farewelled the docks
We met them at Brissy’s Word Fair.

The notes on our books didn’t vary:
Girls! Your POV is just scary
Show! Don’t tell
Show, don’t tell
Pleaded our amazing mentor, Mary.

We sat at our keyboards more wary
Every page we now read was hairy.
Change this, change that
No! Delete that word ‘that”.
“Ah! That’s getting better,” sighed Mary.

Our books need so much work it is scary
Our confidence, now extraordinary
We’ve learned so much
Thanks a bunch
To our amazing mentor, Mary!

© Jo Wanmer 2010

It was an awesome time with plenty of hard work but fun and fellowship too. We all owe so much to Omega Writers, the sponsor, Even Before Publishing and Rochelle Manners and Anne Hamilton - also in the first photo. At this relatively early stage after the programmes, since then two writers have had their manuscripts accepted.
Omega Writers are again organising more mentorship programmes, including hopefully here in Tasmania as well as other states. Do check out the EBP website by clicking on their name above and the details about future mentorship events across Australia on the Omega site HERE to be informed about this kind of opportunity.
If there are any writers in Tasmania targeting the Christian publishing market (especially fiction), or if you know of any who may be interested, we really do need you to contact either myself or Omega Writers as soon as possible.


  1. I was an attendee at the Adelaide mentorship last August. What I learned in that week was amazing and I'm conscious of putting all that into my next work in progress. I'm glad the mentors get as much as the mentees out of these opportunities.

  2. I can assure you we can, Laura! So glad you enjoyed it there too. I think it is a very good opportunity for writers to learn, hone their skills and simply enjoy great fellowship as well!