On Founding a Community for Writers
In 2009, I was in the midst of an excruciating divorce (is there any other kind?), and found myself creatively paralyzed. I couldn’t write, but I needed to stay connected to writing, and writers, to live. By then I had been hosting a salon for women writers for many years in New York, a stateside branch of a salon I’d founded in London with the late Diane Middlebrook, my mentor and dear friend. The salon brought women writers of all generations, writing in all genres, together to discuss the business and the craft of writing. (For more about Diane and the founding of the salon, click here.) Over the years I’d seen wonderful things come of it, as the community supported and educated one another—something that was becoming increasingly crucial as publishing as we’d known it was being stood on its head.
From this, the idea of SheWrites.com was born. My Stanford friend Gina Bianchini, cofounder of Ning.com and more recently Mightybell, gave me the technological guidance I required. The author and coach Deborah Siegel, who became my cofounder, gave more than I can say. Within a month we grew from a few hundred members to nearly four thousand hailing from all fifty states and seventy different countries. Five years later we are twenty-five thousand strong, including some male members, if you were wondering, and continue our commitment to connect, empower and support all those dedicated to the craft and profession of writing. I, of course, found my creativity again, and wrote Wishful Thinking, my first novel. I can attest firsthand that writing it was easier, less lonely, and more fun with SheWriters at my back. Please go to SheWrites.com if you are interested in becoming a member.
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