CBW-LA: Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles
Last June 2010 (partly because I was missing our SCBWI Westside Schmooze and partly because I wanted to join a writing group close to home), I went on meetup.com and started looking for writing groups near where I lived. I saw a couple of groups close by and decided to check out their webpages. The groups I found seemed interesting and very helpful, but I wanted something a little bit more focused on writing for children.
Toni Morrison said: “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I thought the same idea would apply to a writing group.
So, since I couldn’t find writing groups for children’s books writers close to my home, I decided to organize one, and the Torrance Children’s Books Writing Group was born.
Of course, I didn’t know I had to pay just to organize a group on meetup. I thought, what the heck—I’ve already spent all this time filling out the forms and thinking of what the meetup group would be about, I might as well go through with it. I opted for the monthly payment of $19.99 instead of the discounted annual rate. I figured, well, if nobody’s interested in joining, at least I can say I only spent 20 bucks.
I was so happy, when days later, eight people joined in. I had no idea that a year later, our membership would expand.
We’ve had all sorts of meetings — from creative writing sessions, to critique group sessions, to sessions on plotting, rewriting and writing query letters. While most of our sessions are like mini workshops or classes (complete with handouts and worksheets), every meetup is different. On several occasions, we’ve even had various authors as guest speakers.
Our group meetings are designed to accommodate all of our members needs–whether they are beginning writers who want to know how to start writing a novel, aspiring authors who want to know how to get published, or published authors who want to crossover from their current genre to children’s book writing.
I started the group in the hopes that I could find kindred spirits, and in the hopes that we could all help each other grow and succeed as writers. A year later, the group has surpassed all of these expectations and we’ve become more than fellow writers. We’ve become a driven bunch, determined not only to support each other, but to help each other get published.
Early in 2011, we shortened the name Torrance Children’s Books Writing Group to Torrance Children’s Book Writers. As of October, 2012 our group has 260 members and we hope we continue to grow.
We’ve since changed our name to the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles (CBWLA) and we’re now officially a nonprofit organization.
In case you’re curious about what we do in our meetups, you can check out the following links below.
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