Christian Writer’s Group Offers Skill-Building, Encouragement

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

wordwA Word Weavers writers group at a recent meeting Writing is often a lonely pursuit.

Sitting by a desk or on a couch with a laptop, tablet, or legal pad waiting for inspiration. Perhaps struggling with a string of phrases or sentences. And then wondering what interruption will pop-up next to divert the attention from the task at-hand.

Here's a possible solution: Search out others who share your passion for writing and face similar writing challenges...join a writers' group!
"I believe that every writer needs to be in a group of their peers who understand the writing process," said Kathy Bruins, president of the faith-based Word Weavers of West Michigan. "That's where real feedback will be given with a goal of making their writing better."

There are several Christian writers' groups in the area. Word Weavers is one that offers a "big tent" approach, featuring members who are just starting to write all the way to accomplished writers with several publishing credits.

The West Michigan chapter of Word Weavers International (www.word-weavers.com) has four small groups which meet regularly: Muskegon, Grandville, Holland/Zeeland, and Comstock Park. Groups typically have between three and nine participants at their twice-monthly meetings.
There are numerous success stories.
"The members of my group consistently walked me through my new book journey with their careful and honest critiques," said Teresa Lasher of her Word Weavers small group. During 2016 Lasher published "Life Is: Good, Fragile, Precious," a devotional which draws from her experiences through a serious health scare. Over an extended period, her group faithfully read through her chapter drafts and offered suggestions which were incorporated into the final product.

WEAVING WORD BY WORD

Although critiquing each other's writing is a mainstay of the small groups, meetings also include sharing of writing tips and trends, study materials, publishing opportunities, writing prompts, and previews of upcoming writing retreats and conferences.

"In Word Weavers we are cheerleaders for each other," said Bruins, who has authored several books. "The goal is to make our writing better, whether for publication or not. We help others succeed and somehow that helps us succeed. It's a wonderful cycle to be part of."

Several local Word Weavers have written books: both self-published and through traditional publishers. Others have contributed to magazines, newspapers, newsletters or web-based publications.

The organization's $45 annual membership fee includes participation in the critiquing process, access to members-only newsletter and web/Facebook pages, a part in writing anthologies and other collections, and scholarships/discounts to Christian writer's conferences.

"The events and networking in Word Weavers make it very valuable for any writer," Bruins noted.

Last fall several members received discounts to area conferences such as "Breathe" (www.breatheconference.com) and the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference (www.maranathachristianwriters.com) where writers can meet personally with publisher and editor representatives.

Currently, Word Weavers members are working on contributions to an upcoming book anthology with the theme "Christmas Presence," to be published in time for Christmas 2017.

THE WRITING EXPERIENCE

If you don't live near one of the groups or cannot attend meetings, you can join an on-line writers' group. The Word Weavers website also has instructions how you can start a group in your area.

W.W. International president Eva Marie Everson said the 19-year old organization has gained the attention of the publishing industry. "Editors and agents tell me they know a Word Weaver member when they meet one," she said of their polish and preparedness. "They show the evidence of hard work."

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Inevitably writers face rejection: whether a turned-down book proposal, return of a prospective article, or a discouraging response to a query letter. That's when the support of fellow writers helps.

"We're building a community of writers who support one another. We celebrate the successes and encourage through the rejections," Everson said. "We're a rarity because we help 'train our own competition' ... we are iron sharpening iron."

West Michigan's four small groups meet as a large group every few months for sessions with special guests including authors and publishers. In the summertime there's a picnic. In November, they celebrated with members who were published during the year and bestowed special awards chosen from member nominations.

Lasher, who is now working on her next book, is grateful for her fellow Word Weavers. "I feel loved in the Lord there, and with an energy and motivation to keep on keeping on with my writing regardless of the road bumps along the way."
You can find Word Weavers of West Michigan via the site www.meetup.com. To learn more contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

(Editor's Note: West Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer is a Word Weavers member).
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
About:
Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present (1 year 6 months) Monthly publication and web site with news, features, and information of interest to the West Michigan Christian community Feature writer: Muskegon Chronicle April 1996 – Present (16 years 10 months) Writer: Kalamazoo Gazette July 1991 – Present (21 years 7 months) beat includes convering contemporary Christian and Gospel music feature writer Grand Rapids Press May 1988 – Present (24 years 9 months)

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