Finding Contacts, Confidence and Cash in an Online Writing Group By Aimee Cirucci

When I first caught the writing bug in the Spring of 2006 I had no idea where to begin. Slow days at work were filled googling “writing tips” and “freelance writing” for information and inspiration. All this Internet research led me to varied websites, often with conflicting advice: write what you know vs. write what you like to read; writers must be readers vs. writers must be writers. I was confused to say the least. But as the vast, intricately linked world of the Internet would have it, just when I decided I was wasting my time, I stumbled upon a Yahoo group for writers that would change everything.

I joined the group not really knowing what to expect. I was still very much a reader, dipping a tentative toe into the writing waters. Within a couple of hours my e-mail box was filled with messages from writers debating the importance of long standing writing rules, telling stories of their first sales, and sharing industry news. The information was a valuable and the group was chock full of experts and published writers I had long followed. I learned the unique list language – I was a new member or “newbie.” Those that read but rarely posted were known as “lurkers.” Soon I was communicating with best-selling authors. We were all on equal playing ground in this little corner of cyberspace and slowly I started to feel like one of them, a “real” writer.

As my contacts increased and I began to make friends I also found ways to increase my earnings. Members shared opportunities with the group and, thanks to their postings, I sold two of my humorous essays to websites. As I made a foray into young adult literature, I joined a list for teen writers and there, too, found support and sales ideas. When I decided to write a book proposal, it was friends from my online groups who signed on as contributors, critiqued my work and shared tips that helped me land my agent.

I have never met most of my online writing colleagues but their impact cannot be underestimated. Thanks to the Internet, our diverse group has conquered what divides us: geography, commitments, distance, time, age, and interests, by focusing instead on what unites us: the craft and business of writing. And in doing so, we’ve multiplied our success!

Here’s a sample of current Yahoo writing groups, available at http://groups.yahoo.com/:

– Freelance Writers and Editors
– Write From Home
– Freelance Writers Association
– Frustrated Writers
– The Writers With Humor Internet Discussion List

Aimee Cirucci is an educator, writer, and communications professional. A proud graduate of Wake Forest University, she now teaches at Temple University where she is also pursuing an MS in Communications. Aimee’s writing focuses on the humorous aspects of families, relationships, and everyday life. Her website is http://www.cirucci.com.