Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Influences in a writing life...

Writing may be a solitary life, as is often stated, but while the actual act of writing is usually done in isolation, the writer's life is actually most often populated with people...and all are influencing that writing.

Be it a person, such as the wonderful Audrey Jessup of yesterday's blog, or a group of people, they are all vital to the creative process. Take Ottawa as an example. New writers, established writers and those just thinking about the process come together to learn and share at the monthly meetings of Capital Crime Writers. This association, which is nearing it's 25 year mark, has grown into a critical, supportive mass of over 70 members. The meetings vary from writing workshops to presentations by professionals in related fields, such as policing.

The organization provides a supportive atmosphere which inspires new authors, while organizing events that highlight to the wider community the wealth of published mystery and crime authors in the capital city. The monthly newsletter is a valuable resource to all writers. And the yearly fees are surprisingly modest. Check the website at http://capitalcrimewriters.com/ for more details.

On a broader scope, there's Crime Writers of Canada, the national organization in which every mystery and crime writer in Canada should be a member. Probably the most high profile activity of this group is the annual Arthur Ellis Awards, held in early June, which awards the coveted Arthur Ellis hangman trophy to winners of the Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Short Story, Best Crime Non-fiction, Best Crime French, Best Juvenile, and most recently, the Unhanged Arthur for the Best Unpublished First Crime Novel. We've had many Arthur winners from the Ottawa area over the years. CWC works hard at raising the profile of Canada's mystery and crime writers and that can be a tough task given the generally non-supportive state of the media. They're as http://crimewriterscanada.com/

These two groups come to mind since I've recently paid my dues. Really. I'll admit to being slow off the mark to pay my membership renewals but I do eventually come through. I've also paid renewals to Sisters in Crime international (there is a Toronto chapter) and to their offshoot, Guppies. And, it's time I re-joined the International Crime Writers Association.

There are other writing groups out there but for now, these are my main (association) influences. They each offer a valuable link to the book world and also, provide resources that are immeasurable to my writing life.

Are there organizations you find invaluable? Which ones?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase


  1. I think of Capital Crime Writers and Crime Writers of Canada as my 'home' organizations. I will always belong to both because they have done so much for me and for crime writing and crime writers (CCW locally and CWC nationally). I also belong to The Writers Union of Canada which has done a huge amount to improve the lot of writers in Canada, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and IACW. Each organization brings something useful to the membership.

  2. I think we sometimes forget that these wonderful helpful groups are staffed by volunteers who soldier on promoting Canadian writing without always receiving the thanks they deserve.