Thursday, January 28, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Best Writing Advice by Ellen Parker

The Write Way Café welcomes author Ellen Parker, who says her decade of membership in a writing group has been educational sprinkled with laughter and fun.

What is the best writing advice I’ve received?

Join a writing group.

     These four words, given by the instructor of a one day writing workshop, opened a new world to me.
     “Join a writing group.”
     They’d take me? I’m an unknown, unpublished, medical technologist writing on the side? Aren’t writing groups multi-published authors sitting around discussing high literary concepts?
     A little detective work at the public library followed. I managed to find the website of Romance Writers of American in a craft book. Click, click, click and I learned that a chapter held their monthly meeting two miles from my home. They were making it difficult to turn down.
     I visited one spring Saturday. I gathered my courage and walked into a room without knowing any of the twenty or so women present. I listened to a presentation by an author I’d never heard of from another part of the state. People mingled. They offered introductions and asked non-threatening questions. I was hooked.
     A few months later, after events in my personal life began to settle, I walked into another meeting. This time my dues to national had been paid and I filled out the form to join.
     That was ten years ago. It’s been an education sprinkled with laughter and fun. I learned I knew less than I thought. And then a member would point out a resource useful to fill in the gaps. Others found fault with my writing – and then suggested two or three or more ways to improve it. I’ve attended workshops and presentations by experts in their field, travelled to new places, met writers from other cities struggling with the same concepts.
     And I was forced to learn more and more computer skills. Like writing, I’m far from a being a computer “expert”. (I yelled “help” to my geek sons recently when my CPU tipped over and filled the screen with gibberish –errr…code.) But I can do a little more than last year.
     So….if you want to write and release the voices whispering -- or shouting -- in your head, I’ll pass along important words from years ago.
     Join a writing group.

Letting go of the past is the only way to grab the future with both hands.

Grasping the future with both hands requires letting go of the past.

     Tucking a weapon into a holster is part of getting dressed for Detective Maylee Morgan of the St. Louis Police. Her new assignment is the case of an unidentified body, and she soon discovers her new neighbor is more than a potential jogging partner.

     Surgeon Dave Holmes is optimistic about his future. He has a new job, a new apartment, and an immediate attraction to a woman running in the park. He intends to discover more than her beautiful legs and unusual name. Then his boss is murdered and Dave lacks an alibi. Maylee’s questions and the handgun on her hip revive horrible memories.
     Maylee’s search for hard evidence clears Dave, but brings her to the personal attention of the killer. In a tangle of career, family, and budding relationship all their lives could unravel if the wrong thread is tugged.

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About Ellen:  Raised in a household full of books, it was only natural that Ellen Parker grew up with a book in her hand. She turned to writing as a second career and enjoys spinning the type of story which appeals to more than one generation. She encourages readers to share her work with mother or daughter – or both. When not guiding characters to their “happily ever after” she’s likely reading, tending her postage stamp size garden, or walking in the neighborhood. She currently lives in St. Louis. You can find her on the web at or on Facebook .


Lynn Cahoon said...

Great advice Ellen. I have to say joining our RWA chapter was the HARDEST thing I did that year, and the best. I've been a member since 2010 and have learned so much about the world of publishing and writing.

HiDee said...

We didn't have a writers group in my area so I started one, with the help of a local published author. It's been a very rewarding experience! Thanks for being with us today, Ellen!

jen a said...

I agree! Writing is a hard business and any support is needed. Thanks!

Ellen Paker said...

Thanks for using the word "business" Jen. Taking the mindset from fun or hobby or dabbling to a serious plan is a major adjustment.

Megan Kelly said...

We have a great writing chapter! I can't believe it's only been 10 years; you seem like such a fixture. I remember those early meetings when I thought I'd get thrown out since I was "only" a mom. I wouldn't be where I am without MORWA and RWA.

Christine said...

Great advice. I tweeted and Google shared.

Ellen Paker said...

Thank you for passing this along.

Angela Adams said...

Great post, and interesting book premise!