Writing is a lonely vocation. Most of it is done either alone in an office or with a cadre of imaginary friends inside the author’s own head. Occasionally, that cycle is broken and a group of writers gather. That happened for me this past weekend in Gilbert, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix. 

I belong to a few different writers’ organizations, each with its own purpose. The conference this weekend brought together members of the American Night Writers Association or ANWA. Founded in October, 1986 by Marsha Ward and five other women, the group served mommies with young children. These mothers also aspired to be authors; some were already published and others saw themselves publishing one day. They wrote at night, after the children were asleep, hence the name/

The group that started 33 years ago in a living room now includes 350 members. About half are published authors; the rest aspire to be. Many members have years of publishing experience, multiple book contracts, and designation as best sellers on some impressive lists. Creative energy abounds. It practically buzzes in the air all around us. 

When we combine large numbers of writers—who, by nature, are introverts—with the opportunity to network, teach, and learn, beautiful things happen. I attended workshops on everything from how to create emotional resonance, to writing inspirational non-fiction, to book marketing and taxes; met some multi-talented people, shopped in a store stocked with members’ books, and had the opportunity to share some of my own experience in the publishing industry. The weekend inspired, thrilled, impressed and exhaustedus all, but it was a lovely kind of tired.

One highlight came when I sat at a table with Marsha Ward, whose vision created ANWA and whose books—dozens of them—grace a number of different publishing platforms and top-seller lists. (That’s Marsha in black.) I’ve been to conferences before and I plan to attend more. Every one sends me away refreshed, invigorated, and eager to sit down and write. I can hardly wait to finish Winter Skye. Any day now. . . .

Susan loves to hear from readers. Write her at susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com, or visit www.susanaylworth.com or her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Susan.Aylworth.Author. Watch for Amber in Autumn, Book 3 in the “Seasons of Destiny” series, coming near the end of September.  Books 1 and 2, Paris in the Springtime and  Sunny’s Summer are available in e-book and paperback formats. Winter Skye will follow soon. Stay in touch!