Join the Club: Writer and Editor Hermits Need People

Making strings of words into digestible, readable packages is a solitary affair. Whether you write the words, edit the words, design how the words look, or perform some combination thereof, you’re most likely doing the heavy lifting by yourself. Probably in front of screen. Sometimes without a shower beforehand. Often in jammies.

If you’re like me, you enjoy your professional island of one. The commute is great. Your coworkers are typically of the four-legged meowing or barking variety. On any given Monday morning, you can dodge the small talk about what you did last weekend or what you’re going to eat today for lunch. You’re the only person who can ask about your TPS reports, and you already know the answer.

Sometimes, though, even all those perks can’t stop a wee sliver of isolation from creeping through the door of your home office.

Gee, I haven’t left the house all week.

The last real conversation I had was with the cashier at Trader Joe’s.

I’m watching my word count go backward instead of forward. 

My obsession with this particular comma or its removal threatens to send me over the edge.

I’m a full-time employee, but I work from home, and I have colleagues I can pester electronically, but even hermits like me need some time to sit around with other thinking, feeling, breathing, editing, writing human beings.

Enter the club.

If you work with words, your options for clubs to join are almost limitless, from big national organizations to small local affairs. Some, like the Chicago Self-Publishing Group, are free (hooray for free!). Others, like Chicago Women in Publishing (CWIP), are professional associations that ask you to plunk down some money for the (many) benefits of membership. And there are clubs out there that exist for the sole purpose of getting people together and flooding their brains with knowledge and those happy neurotransmitters of camaraderie—let’s have a round of applause for the Chicago Writers Conference (CWC), coming soon in October.

I’m not a social butterfly, but I’ve managed to work my way up from utter hermit to functional networker. Thanks to these clubs, I continue to make friends and connections when I go to events, and I’ve somehow transformed myself from Luddite to social media cheerleader. When I walk into a room full of friends and strangers, it gets a little bit easier than the last time to step outside of my introverted box.

CWIP is a club for writers, editors, and other word workers. Hermit status is optional.

I’ve been a member of CWIP for more than two years. I might be biased, but let me tell you, CWIP is filled with some of the most intelligent and helpful folks I know.

So, my fellow writer and editor hermits, I encourage you to join the club, any club, and get yourself out of the house. Here are a few upcoming chances to talk in person with some important (and fun!) wordy and bookish types:

  • September 17 is CWIP’s Fall Kickoff, which will be a party like no other party you’ve been to, mostly because the keynote speaker is marketing firecracker Annie Passanisi (you remember Annie, right?).
  • Erika Nygaard, who designed the fabulous EditCassandra logo, will speak at CWIP’s educational program, Be Your Designer’s Best Friend, on October 8. If you’re like me (say, stuck in the word world with no guideposts to help you decipher what the heck happens on the design side), you’ll want to come and take notes. Copious notes. Erika knows her stuff!
  • The conference for writers to end all conferences for writers, CWC, is from October 24 through October 26. I must remind myself to actually experience CWC instead of just tweeting it. Wish me luck with that.
  • Andy Crestodina, Chicago’s content marketing genius, will present at CWIP’s educational program on November 19. Andy blends loads of expertise with honest approachability. Kind of like great online content, no?

Want more details? Head to the websites for CWIP and CWC.

Have a question about these events and clubs that you want a human-hermit to answer? Leave me a comment. I can play well with others, on screen and off. Promise.

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6 Responses to “Join the Club: Writer and Editor Hermits Need People”

  1. Mare says:

    Lovely article, Cassandra! And thanks for the kind words. Btw, we may have our own live-tweeter…we want you to *experience* the conference, too! (Difficult when you’re working…even if it’s fun.) Sorta like attending one’s own wedding. See you in Oct. & in Sept. at CWIP’s kickoff!

    • EditCassandra says:

      Thanks, Mare! Too true about the tweeting. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep my fingers off the keys, but I’ll force myself to take some regular notes, too. I can’t help but get excited around so many writers. Looking forward to what’s ahead in September and October! Thanks for putting together such a great conference!

  2. Kim Bookless says:

    Fantastic article, Cassandra! Thanks for the shout out to the Chicago Self-Publishing Group.

    • EditCassandra says:

      Thank you! And extra thanks go to you for organizing and working so hard for so many of these groups. You’re an advocate for hermits all over Chicago! 🙂

  3. Kim Bookless says:

    And thank you for promoting CWIP, of course. I meant to mention that in my first comment!

    • EditCassandra says:

      But of course! I owe so much of my personal and professional development to CWIP. It’s a no-brainer to spread the love around and tell other people so they can join the club!

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