Friday, May 21, 2021

Does writing change the writer?

Today's topic is so interesting. Does writing change the author? Do you think your writing has changed you in any significant way? 

I remember writing my first novel, way back when I had no idea of what I was doing.  One night I found myself at a Sisters In Crime meeting at the Boston Public Library.  The president of the New England Chapter was making a presentation on the organization.  Good grief, why was I so nervous?  I was venturing into new territory and being a cautious only child, this little step took all my courage. And so I joined the organization and in a few years I was an office holder.  I knew women who had actually had their books published. 

The next baby step as a writer was to sign up for William Holland's "Writing Your Novel" course at Harvard Extension.  I never thought I would sit in a real Harvard Classroom with so many interesting, talented people. Since I was the beginner, it was helpful to have my work critiqued by writers who knew so much more then I did.  

I missed a class becasue I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Singapore.  And I came back with characters and a plot for my second novel.  The first remained on computer, but every now and then I steal something from that first ill-conceived novel. 

At the end of the term we had a party and people brought real booze. In a classroom.  I almost freaked out.  This writing life was even exciting.

Months later, I found myself going to Mystery Writers of America meetings at Kate's Mystery Books in Cambridge.  The Christmas party was wonderful with so many big name authors in the room, everyone talking at once.  

So now to the topic. How has writing changed me?  I've bad so many opportunities to make new author friends. To attend conferences.  To be on panels at conferences and libraries. To travel to new cities to attend conferences.  Hello NOLA!  To participate in the friendship and collegiality of writer's groups and make more friends there.

 I never imagined I would hold offices.  Run a conference.  Buy Sue Grafton a drink. Meet Lee Child. But it's really the friendships that have developed over the years.  We writers sit at our desks and stare at their computers.  But like everyone else, we need to be around people, laughing, eating, drinking, and talking shop.  Especially talking shop.So it's the getting involved and the friendships and the help I've had to become a better writer that has changed me.  I jointed Toastmaster in order to do better at public speaking which used to terrify me.   

I convinced my husband to write a memoir about growing up in Hitlet's Germany. Now we talk writing and home and critique each other.  

I cannot imagine my life if I did not write.  It's  an occupation that is endlessly fascinating and very social.  Who knew?  

I'm sure my fellow writers have their own interesting thoughts on this topic:  take a look! 

Skye Taylor

Anne Stenhouse

Marci Baun

Diane Bator

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Beverley Bateman

Rhobin L Courtright


  1. I thought I posted a comment, but it disappeared. If this is a repeat, I apologize. I completely missed the changes in us just through the process of becoming a writer. That initial, timid entry into a meeting of like minds, some of them already published, to joining boards, becoming an officer, then attending conferences, and rubbing shoulders with other authors. It's all a horizon expanding, growing experience. I would love to meet Lee Child, but I have met Steve Berry, Nora Roberts, Tess Gerritson and other greats who cast just long shadows.

  2. What an interesting blog post.
    I believe serving on local and RWA Chapter boards are a wonderful way to lean and grow as a writer, too.

  3. I enjoyed your post and your growth and change through the writing journey. Writing did change your life.

  4. Hi Judy, My that all sounds so familiar. The first 'real' writing comp I entered as an adult was before a small conference run every year in Pitlochry, Scotland. I remember thinking as I entered the dining-room - "I hope the public criticisms aren't too awful." Winning the little trophy was a revelatory moment and, like your trip to that library meeting, cemented the big change in my life. Anne


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