View Full Version : What AW means to me....

06-16-2005, 12:53 PM
I found AW a couple of years ago, when I was half-heartedly thinking about taking a stab at writing fiction, and *gasp* submitting it.

I was working as a copy-writer and style editor, and was badly burned out about it. However, even though I had a salaried writer job, I didn't really think of myself as a "writer" and had no clue about anything having to do with publishing.

I was sitting in that common writer vacuum of my head space, and I was completely clueless.

I'm still arguably clueless. :) But I found AW, and can't even begin to explain how much I treasure the education, support, and companionship I've enjoyed, as a member of this community. I'm just about to end the first draft of a first novel, and I feel absolutely certain I'd have never gotten that far without this community.

So thank you, to both Jenna, and to the other members who participate and spend so much time providing valuable information and advice to beginners.

Even if it never sees print, I've found writing amazingly fulfilling and restoring--even when it's difficult. I've learned so very much, in the process.

I thought I'd open this up--and if some of ya'll want to share, please do!

06-16-2005, 01:13 PM
AW is a place for me to be understood in my efforts.

It is an invaluable learning tool and intially why I lurked here for months and months before participating, but now it is a place where I can converse and relax with like minds.


06-16-2005, 01:23 PM
:popcorn: And a big ditto to that.
I have found some pretty nice folks in this forum that have given me nothing but encouragement. The education alone has been worth the hours i spend here. My hat is off to all those that have bravely made it into the big book stores/Theaters/Video games/TV. (and any other places I may have missed) It is through you and the great diversification of age and gifts of talent that have been such a blessing to me. Thank you.

To Jenna and all the mods...:Jump: To those that have shown a kind word or a smily face my way...thank you. :banana:

06-16-2005, 01:40 PM
awww--thanks, Wendy! We're glad you're here, too :)

06-16-2005, 02:45 PM
This is a great thread. :)

This place means a lot to me to. I really am thankful for the people here. The laughter, the sharing, the education and so much more. YEP, I gotta say that for as long as I've been using the net, these forums and the people who post here are the best!


06-16-2005, 03:46 PM
I'm just about to end the first draft of a first novel
Way to go! :)

I found AW when I was looking for one more beta reader for my novel. IIRC, I googled and a thread in the mentoring or writing partners came up.

What I like about AW is the insider information that you can't find elsewhere. There are other writing sites, but not many published authors hang out on them. Here, we have several who are always willing to share their wisdom, including Jenna, who started it all.

And yes, I did find an excellent beta reader here who helped me polish my work.

06-16-2005, 03:46 PM
Mac, I had a dream about this last night. I was talking to Jenna and telling her why I loved this place so much. Then I turned around and all my favorite AW peeps were there, it was SO Wizard of Oz. "And you, Scarecrow.. I'm going to miss you most of all...." I told everyone what I loved about them and what they contributed to AW. I woke up at 4 am with the biggest smile on my face and just laid there thinking for about an hour. Okay, okay, I'm sappy. I can't help it!

I found AW because I was thinking about finishing my novel and needed some advice. I lurked for a while... a long while. When I finally did register, it was because I read a particularly amazing piece of poetry. It touched me and I couldn't let it go without comment, thus I joined the ranks. Some things you've taught me: I've learned how to keep my butt in the chair and just write. I've managed to turn off that internal editor and have cranked out 3 chapters since April (quite a feat for one that works FT and goes to school). I now have published freelance credit to my name, something I never thought I'd be able to say. My poetic mind has grown leaps and bounds. Only part of this comes from my effort, most of it comes from YOU.

And last but not least, I've made some wonderful friends. I hold you near and dear to my heart. You guys are amazing. A support group when we face rejection, a party when we have our triumphs, encouragement to keep going. When I made my first freelance sale, I was bursting inside, dying to tell you about it, knowing it wouldn't feel real until I did. People come and go on the boards and some cannot be around as much as they would like. But I truly feel potential for lifelong friendships, I hope it turns out that way :)

Jenna, sweetie. Thank you so much for providing this resource. You are amazing. (but you knew that!)


Trapped in amber
06-16-2005, 04:22 PM
Absolute Write dispelled all the myths I'd read which made it seem pretty much impossible to become a writer. The information here has vastly decreased the likelihood that I'll get scammed. My writing has improved. I don't feel so isolated as a writer.

If I ever do get published, then this board will have played a part in that, as well as the many people who have shared their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm here.

Thanks Jenna.

mmm... pancakes
06-16-2005, 05:49 PM
All of what people have written here applies to me too. But also: it's the only forum I DON'T share with my now ex-girlfriend. While we were together - and still now - it was very weird to share an online community.

06-16-2005, 05:53 PM
I just finished TPB and was shopping for an agent. I came across ST. Literary (what can I say? I was clueless) and googled them, and the first thing that popped up was AbsoluteWrite. What a life-saver! Then I started reading Uncle Jim's thread and -- you know me -- just couldn't keep my mouth shut (or flying fingers from typing). I registered in April, 2004 and haven't shut up since.

I've made so many friends on AW -- some of them I even met in real life. I found my crit group here. I also found my publisher through AW. I have learned a lot and I try to give back to the community whenever I can. The writer's life is a lonely one, and AW has been a great sanctuary for me.

So yeah, great joint you've got here, Jenna.

06-16-2005, 06:54 PM
I am one of those people who made the mistake of signing with publishamerica. I was sent here by none other than HB Marcus in one of his rants about people bashing pa. He didn't give an address just said mindsight and that other place. It took me a while but I did find AW. And am I glad I did.

I've learned so much. I'm met more writers than I ever thought I would. I know if I have a question, I can post it and someone will do their best to answer it. AW has helped me do things I never thought I could. I submitted a work for critique, something I never in a million years figured I'd ever do on an online community. I also entered the Atlanta Nights Fake cover contest and I am not a graphic editor so that surprised me.

Sure there are personality problems, but it's that way in the real world. I think though for the most part, that everyone who is a member of AW for the purpose of learning :Lecture: and helping, tries their best to get along because they respect Jenna and each other.

06-16-2005, 07:57 PM
I'm tempted to print out this thread and tack it to my wall. :Thumbs: Thanks so much, guys and gals. This place means a lot to me, too. Because of all the panic disorder stuff, I was never able to join an in-person writers' group. I've learned a lot here, too, but mostly, it's the community itself that I love. I've met some really great friends here.

06-16-2005, 09:18 PM
I had finished my first novel, submitted it and been summarily rejected. As it turned out, the SASE never got to me, so when I e-mailed the publisher to see what was up, I received a reply that really stung.

I had purchased and read the entire Writer's Digest fiction writing series, plus numerous other books and felt I had indeed learned much. Yet something was missing.

That's when I found AW. I can't remember exactly, but I believe it was a mention in Writer's Digest that drew me here. My first post was a new thread saying hello and asking a question. Within a week, it had become a hot thread with the kind of give and take this place is built upon. I was hooked.

Like others above have mentioned, writing is a pretty solitary endeavour. Yet because of this place, I feel that I am not only part of a profession, but of a community. This place is filled to the gills with people who think, who look at the world around them and try to make sense of it, and then take that further step of trying to communicate what they have discerned.

Astonishing. Even more astonishing is how welcome I was made to feel, and still feel every single time I log in. Never mind online buying or advertizing or file swapping; this is the kind of community that makes the Internet worthwhile.

Thank you, Jenna.

aka eraser
06-16-2005, 09:26 PM
I've never been a joiner. Was, and am still, uncomfortable in groups. The solitude of writing always appealed to me.

I'd had some little success writing for newspapers and magazines in the 70s and early 80s. Then I took about 15 years off. I still scribbled some, but didn't submit.

About six years ago I decided to get back to it full time and maybe write a book too. Figured I might as well get one of those newfangled computers. One thing led to t'other and I found myself checking out this new Water Cooler thingy that Jenna Glatzer girl was going on about.

I was 48 years old and until then I'd never communicated with another writer. Never shared stories, tips, congratulations or commiseration. Somehow being part of this group felt okay. No doubt part of my comfort zone involved the fact that communication was via my preferred form - the written word and I could still be "alone" while with others.

In any event I found myself growing fond of the people I met. I learned a lot, especially about how computers had revolutionized the industry. I enjoyed sharing what I knew. Now, of course, it's very much a home. I cherish the friends the I've made and a day without AW is just plain weird.

And it's all because of that Jenna Glatzer girl. ;)

06-16-2005, 09:27 PM
I love this place, for too many reasons to mention. :LilLove: Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenna!! :heart:

William Haskins
06-16-2005, 09:36 PM
I just see it as an interesting social experiment. A lot of writers, at a lot of different places in their careers, writing in a lot of different genres and disciplines.

It's a unique mix of causes (PA, other scammers), socializing (especially in the water cooler), and a near instantaneous way to share information.

It's amusing a lot of the time (and not always in a good way) to see people's tendencies behind the mask of anonymity so many here wear. Mostly, it's a pleasant escape for like-minded people from a world that, in general, wouldn't piss in a writer's mouth if their teeth were on fire.

I don't know. I came here to poke around in the screenwriting forum initially, found my way into the poetry room, entered the idol contest on a lark, made friends, made enemies and had some laughs.

One day I'll leave but, even so, it's nice to know that a place like this will offer all I mentioned above from someone else to discover and enjoy.

06-16-2005, 11:57 PM
Hi, all,

AW is a wonderful site and I so appreciate everyone here. I really feel at home and have become close with some of the members here. I've learned a lot and always know that if I want support, friendship or helpful wisdom about my writing, etc. my fingers automatically go to the Water Cooler.

I've been on a number of writing sites and have never found the warmth I have on here. It's a pleasure to check and see my pm's, if I have any rp's and check the great posts on the forums, especially the greeting card forum that is near to my heart. Thank you all very much. It also means that I'm not alone, even if my husband Howie is sleeping and I don't have anyone to talk to. With AW, I always have friends.

And, a special thanks also to Jenna and the mods. for keeping this site the way it is - great! They make it look so easy.:)

Hugs, Susie:)

06-17-2005, 02:59 AM
I was a flash in the pan 15 years ago with books and short stories. Then a house fire took my 12 novels and countless shorts, and all the mags I'd appeared in. I thought that I would NEVER come back to the craft after the heartache. Found this site seven months ago, and realised I'm with my own kind again. I'll never top what I did and what I had, but I'm willing to try it again. I've written over 500 pages since I've been here and met some outstanding talent and advisors. Hey, maybe I WILL top what I did, eh?


06-17-2005, 03:00 AM
I don't post much, but I lurk regularly. I used to be a member of several different writers' forums, but this is the only one to which I now belong. It has the best advice and support I've ever seen. Occasional problems? Sure. But they are relatively minor (if not to the owner and moderators) and well-handled.

I am beginning to move out from my (book review/book-related personal essay) column to start work on a "what if" thriller based on a real international incident, and a couple of the fiction areas are great resources.

Jenna, thank you for building a site where so many superb writers gather to share their wisdom. It is truly extraordinary.

06-17-2005, 04:13 AM
I have to say of all the online communities, AW is by far the best -- the friendliest, most encouraging, most fun, so much to read and learn... AW has the best group of people! Such a friendly group...

I've been a member at other boards in the past which got pretty nasty at times. It was almost impossible to have a discussion, no matter what it was about, without someone turning everything and anything into a HUGE war of insults, fighting, you name it...

I got fed up with them all and decided to just not have anything to do with writing boards all together because they all seemed to be the same ole', same ole' fighting, bickering, etc... But then a friend of mine, who some of you may know (she used to moderate here. And from what I've heard she had a bit of a falling out here. Her tone comes across a bit too harsh at times.). Her name is maia. She had recommended me to this board for close to a year, but I never took her up on it. Finally, when I decided to have nothing to do with these boards, maia told me to come on over. So, I figured I might as well check AW out. So, I read around the site and decided to jump in and try it.

I must say I was and still am very impressed with the great community here.
It's been a lot of fun and I've met some great people. It's more supportive here, like a great big writer family, unlike most boards where it seems to be nothing but competitive flame wars.

I've mostly worked in freelance non-fiction writing for magazines, newspapers, etc... But recently, I've been working on the novel that I started over a year ago. I've had a hard time getting that fiction writing down. So, all the great information here about fiction has really helped me get out of my procrastination mode and get that baby finished. I'm hoping by September. We'll see... But the loads of information to read on this site has been a great help and motivator.

I gotta' say it's a very cool thing you have goin' here, Jenna! :Clap:

06-17-2005, 04:54 AM
This is a good question, one with a very good answer.

First, though, a bit of history....

I began to write very young--around age eleven--at the encouragement of my late father. He himself was a bit of a writer, although I'm not certain whether he was ever published or no. Yet he enjoyed writing very much, and was very creative. He had read one of my school assignments and told me I could become a good writer.

This was when I decided for the first time what I would do with my life.

My major problem in my writing life has always been the lack of membership in a writing group. I'm scared to death of meeting new people--online it's not so bad, but to go before a bunch of writers in person and say "I'm an aspiring writer" frightens me very much.

So I never belonged to a writer's group per se.

However, I did attempt to publish a novel of mine, that I worked 17 years on. After having been rejected only 3 or 4 times, I gave up and began thinking, "I'll publish my books myself."

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I assumed a business name but didn't have any money to back up my endeavors. The company, needless to say, went under.

After several years of trying but not actually achieving my goal of becoming a published author, a friend gave me a print-out of a website's front page. I was at first afraid of it because the name "PublishAmerica" sounded too good to be true.

I should have listened to my first instinct and gone somewhere else.

That aside, though, as I built a website on the advice of a fellow PA author, I eventually acquired a guestbook. Shortly after the guestbook opened up, a guestbook slammer attacked my site.

Then another.

Then another.

The two constants between these three or four guestbook slammers were a site called 'Mindsight' and a site called 'AbsoluteWrite.' I got up the guts to look at only one site....the latter. I was originally not impressed. I did not like the 'board fanatic', 'board elder', and other pseudo-religious terms found all over the site. I despised people on the site because of their raging attitudes toward my beloved Publisher.

Then my 'beloved Publisher' began to show its true colors. When I saw the first copy of my book's front cover, I was so embarrassed I could do nothing but laugh. They had taken what I had spelled out as a 'rough draft' of what I wanted their artists to design, and cut-and-pasted it onto the front cover. My actual drawing, mind you.

Eventually, other things began to pop up as well. The other little things so heavily discussed on another thread on this forum (NEPAT) that I shall not get into here.

Finally though, when I saw other authors becoming the brunt of the Publisher's insulting remarks, I quietly walked away.

I had never visited Mindsight--though I do still plan on it one of these days--but I remembered a lot from AbsoluteWrite that coincided with everything I had experienced with my Publisher. So I began to look up the site and see what it was really about.

I learned that the things that did not impress me about the site were by this time gone. They had changed to a different forum provider, and thus many of the pseudo-religious terms had changed, as well. (Although I still see 'Board Fanatic' every so often around the forums.)

I lurked all of one or two days before joining up. I still had my reservations, but I decided I would be polite and dignified toward the other posters. I'm glad I did, because I have made many good friends here.

In the last four months, I have learned more about writing and have improved my own craft so much that the term 'flabbergasted' cannot begin to express how I feel about my writing. People have been very kind to me in that they have treated me with respect and dignity even in the face of how I once felt about them.

If AW means anything to me personally, it means a place I can go to from the comfort of my own home, and learn about my craft from people who share not only the same goals as I do, but also the same basic desire to help other writers. I have gained much confidence in that I now possess the courage to visit other forums and talk with other writers not as semi-Godlike creatures but as ordinary people like myself.

This is basically what AW means to me.

My apologies if this post has been extremely long, but much needed to be said for me to get everything right.

I'll talk to you all later, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend beyond.

06-17-2005, 04:59 AM
What AW means to me…. Hmmmmm….

I have really become attached to this place. Which is kinda weird for me because until not long ago I was a healthy skeptic when it came to anything online.

I found the original forum about a year ago through Writers Digest Best of the Web. But since they tout it as a resource for freelance writing I didn’t really hang around much. A few forays into the Novels section (where I did nothing but lurk.)

It was the new Forum board and format that for some reason made me decide to join. That and the AW Idol contest, I think. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until that point that I actually looked around and it was like love at first sight.

The amount of information available is staggering and encompasses practically every venue of writing. It truly has something for everyone.

But the real charm and the reason why I cannot resist coming here is the sense of community and the community members themselves.

Writing is a solitary craft and in real life, I have no one to relate my writing experiences and problems. The knowledge, wisdom, experience, warmth, overall goodness and the general high caliber of the members here is awesome.

I’ve said this before but I truly feel that Jenna has created something immensely valuable here, a construct of true worth. The whole is truly greater than the sum of it’s parts.

I think Jenna has done a great job, not only in how she has set this place up but also in her mod process and her selection of mods.

They’ve all been honest, forthcoming, impartial, unbiased, evenhanded and for the most part – practically invisible in a mod status. As well as being actual warm and friendly human beings who I happen to like.

This place is like a haven for writers, a place to lay down your load for awhile and kick back with others who share your goals, feelings and problems as far as the writing life is concerned.

My only problem is that this place is too damn addictive!! Every day I’ll come here, just to check in and take a peek before I get to my true mistress, writing.

I feel like the guy who stops by the local bar on his way home – just for one cold one, mind you. But then he gets to talking and socializing and hanging out with good friends and having interesting conversations etc, and next thing he knows – a few hours have flown by and he realizes his ol’ lady’s gonna be pissed!! Again!!!!

What’s a poor guy to do?!?!?!?

Jenna, if my wife calls – tell her I’m not here!!!

06-17-2005, 05:42 AM
I've belonged to other online writer's groups. One for a whopping 6 years. I got to be friends with the person who ran the other group (let's just say it was a group run in the name of a big name author)(on his web site) At least I thought we were friends.

I landed my agent and many people on that site had questions--no one else there had an agent. I started to find the info many of the people there gave to be false or not helpful to me or anyone else--take the font wars here! Sheesh, there it got nasty--who the heck are you to say and etc.

The Mod there would close a thread or boot someone, but not really step in.

Then the threads on outlining etc started and in one I posted the way I write--that way the question Do you outline why or why not? I answered the question. Simple, straight forward.

Another regular member attacked me--and I mean attacked me, telling me I was hurting new writers with my ridiculous assumption that a book could be written without an outline. She called me a fake wanna be--hey check out my agent's site, I said. She said, you could have put that web site up--and how do we know you are really SRHowen?? It became absurd--she kept after me--and had been making little digs since I had landed my agent.

Even though she had never published anything she was something of a "know it all" who had a way of making new and old members of that board think she knew it all as well.

She told me my writing could be 100 times better if I outlined.

She'd never read a word I'd written--unless she'd read something at WCP --then again maybe she had--and thought WCP was my made up web site as well.

The mod, this entire time didn't say a thing.

I left--sadly and it hurt after that many years, that when I said I was leaving that only a handful of people--4 or 5 were sad to see me go or e-mailed me. The woman who had been tormenting me said oh good riddance --you stupid fake.

Sigh--even now a year later, it still stings.

That’s what I like about AW. LOL weird way to explain it. AW is not those things. I won't say there aren't clicks. I won't say we don't have spats--

But here I have found a group that mostly let's you be who you are and follows the mantra Write the best way for You as a writer. I found other pro's and semi pros. My advice is valued (at least I think so) And while I haven't made any deep friendships--think I'm solitary by nature anyway--I feel part of the family here.

And when someone was sending me nasty e-mails (over italics of all things) the mods stepped up right of way to find out who was doing it and if they had stopped.

I've also found members of my own writer's group here--they are valuable friends. (made so by their involvement in my writer's group--but I would not have invited them to join if I had not known them here)

So thanks all for making this a great community.


06-19-2005, 08:21 AM
Jenna, Super Mods, Chunky, Sages, all those who have offered invaluable help and teaching for those of us pursuing our dreams.

Thank you so much, you are a great group of people -- and some of you can write pretty good too! :D

06-19-2005, 08:32 AM
To sum it all up for me.

I found AW a few years back - through the PA boards, no less. I've realized the certain truths about writing, I've found inspiration (to continue), and lots of consistently good people that hang out here are cool.

As BF said this place IS addictive. I recently cut back just to make sure and get that whole sunshine bit going constantly in my life.

It's safe to say that this place is cool enough to want to spend too much time here. And I love it!

I'd like to say thank you to all the mods and super cool people that I've encountered since finding AW - (esp. Mac, Birol, Susie, Jonathon Micheals, Chunky, Tri, Jenna, E, BF, Chris, and all of you I've talked to).

06-19-2005, 08:46 AM
over 3000 woowoo

06-19-2005, 09:06 AM
I found AW last fall. I had not written a thing for some time and was considering getting back into the swing of things, so to speak.

I could go on at length about all the things I like about AW. Let me just say that the wealth of different experiences and opinions expressed on this site have both challenged me and inspired me to be not only a better writer, but also a better person.

I have great love and respect for all of you.

Brady H.

08-02-2005, 11:48 PM
.... and then? :)

08-03-2005, 12:30 AM
I think we should sneak into Jenna's house while she's away and wallpaper her writing room with this thread.

08-03-2005, 05:37 PM
I think I first stumbled onto AW while looking for poetry resources, or maybe it was greeting card resources, I can't really remember. I was a moderator at a poetry forum at the time and helped the owner of that site with a few things. As I began to lose interest in that site and in poetry (the posting and critiquing of it anyway), I became interested in writing for *gasp* money. I wasn't interested in a full-time career, I just thought I'd see if I could make a few extra bucks while doing something I enjoy. Greeting cards seemed to "call" me so I bought Jenna's Sell the Fun Stuff ebook and after I sold an idea or two, I started taking myself more seriously as a writer. To reflect this change in attitude, I dropped my first screen name, missluckypenny, and its respective roots, and started going by poppyhullings. I have "dabbled" in other forms of writing, but I mostly write greeting cards. It's a tough business and I don't sell ideas very often, but I enjoy it. I also write poetry, but usually keep it to myself nowadays.

I specifically remember Frank when I first came here. I bought his book for my husband and it improved his fishing skills (seriously, it did, Frank didn't pay me to say that, I swear). I wasn't a very active member here until the board moved, which was about the same time I was trying to get back into the writing groove after losing my grandfather and grandmother a month apart. Their absence has affected me way more than I ever could have imagined. Their deaths weren't a shock, but not seeing them every day when I had been used to seeing them almost every day was (still is sometimes) difficult. I spent a lot of time on AW trying to "keep busy" and take my mind off of it. I've lived here all of my life and so did my grandparents so it was (and still is) hard to go anywhere without running into a reminder. AW was a much-needed escape for me at the time. This past May, I came to the conclusion that it was time for another change in my life. I decided that when my daughter goes back to school (Aug. 8th), I'd get a part-time job outside the home, but continue to write greeting cards in my spare time. I haven't found that part-time job yet, but I'm looking.

Anyway, I mainly hang around the private greeting card forum because that's about all I have time for now. I am thankful for all that I've learned here and for the friends I have made. AW rocks! :)