Since 1988, when Women Who Write began meeting in each others' kitchens to talk about writing, every member has had her unique reasons for joining Women Who Write, Inc.
I joined Women Who Write ("WWW") at the suggestion of fellow member Joanne Flynn Black, who I met at a nonfiction book proposal writing course in New York City nearly fifteen years ago. It was at that class that the two of us bonded over competitive title analysis, chapter outlines and marketing plans, and where Joanne became my first writer friend. One night, during our late commute home on the train, Joanne suggested that I check out a local organization for women writers called Women Who Write. Looking back, I think she recommended it because she knew something I didn't: that although writing is a solitary process, it requires a community to read your work if you want to grow as a writer. She knew that WWW would provide a supportive community—the kind that would teach me things like the "sandwich approach" where you sandwich the negative feedback between two pieces of positive feedback—an approach I would practice over the years in three different WWW mixed genre writing groups. Before WWW, "sandwich approach" meant throwing a slice of bologna between two buns and praying that it would pacify my children long enough for me to squeeze in a page or two of writing. Before WWW, I didn't know an editor from an agent, exposition from preposition, or flashback from flash fiction. Before WWW, I didn't understand that an organization of women writers could and would become so integral to my writing career. Before WWW, I knew just one thing: I had a story to write. Thankfully, I made a friend who would set me on the path to write it.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Tognola
LISA TOGNOLA is an author, freelance writer, social worker, wife, and mother of three who always dreamed of getting married and living in the perfect house—until she discovered that passion comes with a mortgage. A former humor columnist at The Alternative Press.com, based in New Jersey, she is now a contributor to More.com, Salon, and Kveller and has contributed essays to five anthologies in the Not Your Mother's Books series as well as My Funny Valentine: America's Most Hilarious Writers Take on Love, Romance, and Other Complications and My Funny Medical: Off the Charts Humor from an All-Star Cast. Tognola hails from California but now lives in New Jersey, where she spends most of her time fantasizing about sunny skies, palm trees, and In-N-Out Burger.
As Long As It's Perfect (She Writes Press)
CAROL VAN DEN HENDE
When I first began crafting my novel, writing seemed a solitary pursuit. One draft in, and I realized that I needed outside input. Friends were great for providing a reader's perspective, and books taught craft, but I was seeking a writer's eye. My first google search turned up Women Who Write as a local NJ resource. The idea of critique groups appealed as a place to get regular, live feedback. I joined, and loved my bi-weekly visits to MaryLee's kitchen table. Those early conversations shaped my characters, my prose and the arc of my story. So, I couldn't be prouder to announce at this year's WWW gathering that the book of my heart had sold to a publisher. And of course, Women Who Write is acknowledged in my debut, Goodbye, Orchid, for the role so many members played in its creation.
Photo courtesy of Carol Van Den Hende
CAROL VAN DEN HENDE is an award-winning author who explores the visible and invisible challenges of imperfect protagonists. When she’s not penning stories of resilience and hope, Carol applies her MBA to marketing and strategy (in chocolate, sweet!). Koehler Books is publishing her novel, Goodbye, Orchid, in October. Goodbye Orchid has been recognized as the 2020 American Fiction Award winner for urban fiction, and 2020 Pinnacle Achievement Award winner for multicultural fiction. Plus, it's been named one of the most anticipated fall reads picked by Buzzfeed, Parade, Frolic, Brit+Co, and Travel+Leisure. Inspired by combat-wounded veterans, the book will donate a portion of profits to charities like The Heather Abbott Foundation. Karin Tanabe called the story "A book full of soul and heart about love, loss and redefining oneself. I adored this modern, important take on the power of love."
She’s also a speaker, Climate Reality Leader, serves on the Board of a special needs school, and proud mom of twins.
One secret to her good fortune? Her humorous husband, kids, and rescue cat, who prove that love really does conquer all.
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