Like to write? Do you live in the Brandywine area? Come visit the Brandywine Valley Writers Group. Though the writing process is often an individual endeavor, that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.
“The Brandywine Valley Writers Group organized to help professional and amateur writers from the area achieve their goals,” says the group’s president, Wayne “Tony” Conaway. These goals range from improving writing techniques to self publishing. The group also provides encouragement to help you complete a book or story.
Conaway continues, “Regular meetings feature writing professionals and published authors who provide their industry expertise and opportunities for discussion in a relaxed atmosphere. We strive to inspire writers through our various programs and to offer friendship within our extensive membership.”
Based in West Chester, Pa., The Brandywine Valley Writers Group was formed in 2003 by Therese Boyd, a professor at Penn State York; journalist and author Bruce Mowday; and author Carla Westerman. The three met at a couple of book signings and talked about writing, publishing and promotion issues for their books. They found they had a lot of common problems and agreed other writers would face the same issues, so they created the group.
The group meets once a month at the Four Dogs Tavern off of Route 162. Most meetings feature guest speakers, which “come from various areas of writing, such as literary agents, published authors and newspaper publishers,” Conaway says. “The authors are from every genre imaginable, from history to mystery, from screenwriting to flash fiction.”
Some speakers hold full-scale workshops on topics such as self publishing and promotion ideas with hands-on instruction. Others prefer to read from their work and answer questions. Every genre is welcome and is discussed during different meeting times.
“Out of the 12 scheduled monthly meetings per year, two are simply social events – a chance for us to get together, talk and relax. One meeting is a group-wide critique session, at which members bring their recent work to be read and critiqued by fellow members,” says Conaway. During the social events, share your newest works, or laugh with others about your latest rejection letters. All meetings are meant to be enjoyable and comforting in order to guide you through your personal goals of becoming a great author — or just a published one.
“Guests and non-members are welcome to our meetings, but we ask guests to consider joining if they come to more than two meetings a year,” encourages Conaway. Membership dues are $30 per year.
Conaway, who is in his second year as president of the group, has written articles for trade publications and magazines like Airline In-Flight, as well as being a co-author of the cross-cultural communications book Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands and Dun & Bradstreet’s Guide to Doing Business Around the World.
As president, Conaway says, “[I] wanted to expand our membership, which has fluctuated. Some meetings draw 15 people, some draw 40. But that’s an improvement from when I took over – one meeting only had seven attendees!”
If you are curious about The Brandywine Valley Writers Group, feel free to join them on Tuesdays once a month. The schedule is posted online at www.bvwg.org.