On a gorgeous Sunday night a few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with nine women who have become some of my closest companions.
We were there to celebrate our individual accomplishments and the fact that we have been writing as a group for almost nine years. It’s been amazing to watch one another evolve from fledgling to accomplished writers. When we started, some of us had never published, some were traditional reporters, some focused on lifestyle tidbits for magazines. Now there are four books to our credit, four more on the way, and articles spread everywhere from More Magazine to Salon.com to San Francisco Magazine to the New York Times. It’s an amazing, supportive group of writers.
Just 18 months earlier, the story had been a gleam in her eye. Then it was an article for San Francisco Magazine. Our group, called North 24th (since so many members live north of 24th Street in San Francisco), helped Allison shape her book proposal. Her agent did such an amazing job of drumming up interest in New York that her proposal sold in just a few days.But there was more to celebrate! Three members of our group have books coming out in the next few months. The next up is Julia Flynn Siler, whose book The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, will be released next week. (More on that tomorrow) Susan Freinkel’s book, American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, will be published by the
Since writing is such an isolated profession, a writing group like North 24th is like a lifeline, a support system that sustains and encourages you. When the doubts descend as they always do, it’s helpful to have a set of colleagues who can remind you that setback and rejection are part of the process, and do not define you as a person or a writer.
And when that “yes” comes over e-mail, that writing group is there to celebrate. I know there are thousands of groups like North 24th around the country, and to them and my own friends I say “bottoms up!”