Philly Creative Guide

Guest Columnist

Becky Bartlett

GLVWG Helps Local Writers Write
by Becky Bartlett, 1 Oct 2006

Becky Bartlett is the current president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. She teaches Microbiology at Northampton Community College and writes fiction in her spare time.

GLVWG serves writers in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding area by promoting writing education through workshops, seminars and conferences. Members include aspiring writers and award winning novelists.

Imagine a typical writer at work and what do you see? Probably someone working alone, struggling to fill a blank page with brilliant insights. You probably visualized Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip, sitting on his dog house, tapping out terrible prose on his typewriter and collecting rejection slips by the dozens.

People who aspire to put a pen to the page experience a lot of the same problems as that poor benighted beagle. Writing is a solitary pursuit; by its very nature it is something that almost always must be done alone. If you want to make a writer laugh, ask them how their hobby has increased their social standing.

And all writers know that putting words down on paper is only half of the equation—someone needs to read those words for the process to be completed. Without an audience, a writer can never tell if what he's written is any good. Snoopy spends a lot of time writing lines like "It was a dark and stormy night" and "Suddenly, a shot rang out!" — Openings designed to elicit laughs from the literary set. Because he never sees how his work plays out with a reader, Snoopy is doomed to repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Writers can't improve their craft if they don't get feedback and instruction.

Another requirement for a successful writer is a thick skin. Snoopy could probably paper the inside of his dog house with the rejection slips he gets in the mail. Getting turned down is a rite of passage for those who want to publish. Stories of how many times authors like Stephen King or J.K Rowling got the dreaded and impersonal 'thanks, but no thanks' letters in the mail are legendary. Writing is not a hobby for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of courage and persistence to become a published author.

In 1993 the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG) was founded to provide a support network for both established and aspiring writers in eastern Pennsylvania. Our members are a diverse group ranging from award winning novelists to people who just like to record their thoughts in diaries. Interests range from poetry to technical writing, family memoirs, screenplays, historical works and novels. All members are united in their love of writing, a desire to grow in their craft and the determination to support each other in their goals. If you put a pen to the page on a regular basis, GLVWG has a place for you in our group.

GLVWG's role is to foster education, serve as a source of information and to further the writing interests of its members. The club sponsors monthly programs, writer's cafes, literary readings, workshops and an annual writer's conference which gives participants the opportunity to present their work directly to agents and editors.

Whatever our individual interests, every GLVWG member has identified with Snoopy at one time or another. We've all worked alone on our respective doghouses, trying to create something worth reading and we've all collected rejection slips. Of course, unlike Snoopy, many of our members have gone on to find success in their writing and, when that publishing contract is signed or the check comes in the mail, the entire GLVWG group is there to applaud, making success seem all the sweeter.

GLVWG Schedule of Events

GLVWG meetings are held the 4th Saturday of every month at the Palmer Library in Palmer, PA. (10AM – Noon)

Writer's Cafes are held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Border's Bookstore in Whitehall, PA. (7-9PM)

Literary readings by GLVWG and published authors are held at Touchtone Theater in Allentown, PA as part of their Firehouse Fridays presentations: Nov. 10, Feb. 9, 2007, May 11, 2007, June 8, 2007 & July 13, 207. Tickets are $5.

The Write Stuff Conference will be held on April 27 & 28, 2007 at the Four Points Sheraton in Allentown, PA.

Print Article Brought to you by: Becky Bartlett | current president of GLVWG

Do you have a story to tell? Email us your idea and you could be the next Philly Creative Guide Guest Columnist.

View the Guest Columnist Archive.