Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting Re-Connected when You Move

Re-Connected when You Move
by Angie Azur 
-originally published by WPA SCBWI Newsletter 2012


Some of you may remember me from the Pittsburgh regional chapter of SCBWI. My first move away from home brought me to Manhattan Beach, LA. I felt isolated and lonely as a writer there, but I never made any attempts to change it.

When we sold our house in Manhattan Beach to move north to San Francisco I was excited. Growing up in Pittsburgh I had missed the trees and changes in weather during my time in LA.
After taking a few weeks to get settled, I needed to get back to my writing. But this time things would be different. Even though I didn't feel comfortable in my new surroundings yet, and I didn't know any writers in my new area, I put myself out there.
The first thing I did to get back to normal was to decorate my office. During a move, things get lost, papers shuffled, and space changes. I needed to feel like my office was a cave, a safe haven to let go and write.

            The important things for me to surround myself with were these:

My writing dream board: which has pictures and phrases about writing and the writing life that I wish and dream to accomplish. 

My stuffed monkey from childhood: which was given to me by my Grandfather and sits on my writing desk as a reminder that I can do anything. 

My files of books and ideas: instead of putting them inside drawers where I wouldn't see them, I keep them out on my shelves. 

Books: I love to surround myself with books: ones I've read, ones I'm waiting to read, and even ones I know I'll never read, but enjoy the company of in my office.

The second thing I did, to get back to my routine, was reach out to The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators . SCBWI has always been a great resource for me.

            I contacted the local regional advisor, and let her know that I was new in town, that I'd been a member since 2004 and that I was ready to volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet other writers in your area and to make new contacts.

            Now not only am I very involved with the Bay Area SCBWI chapter, but I am the critique group facilitator. That leads me to the next thing I did after moving. I sent emails out to other SCBWI members, asking them about critique groups.

            I wanted to find one that was close to home,  met in the morning and was comprised of serious writers. The easiest way to find a group like this, I found, was to use critconnect. This is an online site in our area where members looking for a critique group sign up. I met my wonderful critique group writers there.

            The last thing I did to get connected to the writing community was to visit local bookstores. My favorite one here is Book Passage. It's locally owned and small, yet it attracts notable authors for speaker series, and publishers and editors for writing classes.

            I signed up for their email newsletter, which makes me feel "in-the-know" when it comes to visiting authors and writer's workshops. And the staff has been great in helping me research books for my current projects.

            I've lived in the Bay Area for less than two years, yet I feel so connected to the writing community. I am thankful for all of the creative people I have met. But it didn't just happen. I had to get out there. I had to email people. I had to introduce myself.

            My advice to you is that if you are feeling isolated because of a move, do what I did. Use all of these great resources and you too will become dialed into your writing community.

Angie Azur is a middle grade and young adult writer. She has been a member of SCBWI since 2004. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two young sons, two geckos, and two dogs. She writes a blog, where she interviews creative people in all genres and gives advice to newbie writers. 

Her website showcases her work.
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