Welcome to the website of the North State Writers, the 21st Branch of the California Writers Club.
I’d like to start by thanking the North State Writers for placing their confidence in me as the new club President. Tom Watson put a lot of effort into our organization, and set a high standard by which the rest of us will be judged. He was more than our founding president, he was a great mentor and an accomplished writer. I’ll do my best to live up to those measures.
I think it’s only fair to let you all know my vision for the North State Writers. If there is any one mission that really defines us it is the imperative to create a nurturing, supportive environment for the craftsmen of our trade. Writers, editors, and artists all share a bond in our final product: Books. The NSW gives us all a place to communicate and enhance our skills.
We also hold in common the pride we take in our work. Hours are spent making sure our product is done as close to perfect as possible. Even after publishing, we are always trying to improve our work. I think because of this it sometimes pains us to see less than stellar products put out to market.
Today’s technology incredibly allows anyone to publish their work, whether edited a dozen times or none. The result has been a sea of published material, sometimes shoddily done, that leaves readers unsure of where to get good material. With books as cheap as 99 cents, time becomes the commodity readers must guard, and so they stick with the preferred names of authors they know and trust. Safe for the reader, but frustrating for new writers wanting to be discovered.
The seasoned writer might be tempted to discourage those who wish to enter the trade. But I would offer you another perspective. Think of yourselves as Guardians of the writing craft. Guardians protect standards by encouraging better effort. They teach rather than criticize. They offer help rather than disdain. Guardians know that bringing more writers to the trade also entices new readers, creating a rising tide that lifts all boats. By providing the tools necessary for writers to enhance their craftsmanship, we will improve the products of the writing world and restore the faith of our readers.
The role of gatekeepers is greatly different. Gatekeepers seek to close their world off to newcomers, thereby gaining power and prestige for themselves. Gatekeepers would use high standards to hold others back, not realizing that new and fresh ideas are exactly what our craft needs. New writers often create new readers, benefitting us all. Gatekeepers would hamper that effect.
I encourage all of you to become the guardians of our craft. Let’s continue to build the North State Writers into an organization that foster and supports new writers and ideas. We can do this by recruiting more members, by reaching out to those with great experience, and by gently raising the standards of our trade. Writing is a noble profession. Let’s make sure that reputation is maintained on our watch.