Janice Wilson is very modest person, and a lot of people don 't realize that she was the founder of the South Jersey Writers Group. While we were at the Philadelphia Writers Conference, I had a chance to speak with her. Here is the interview below. Enjoy!
Tell us a
little bit about yourself.
I have been writing since I was about 13 years old, and
it began with short story swaps with a friend in school. The stories turned
into novels, and even when she became too busy or bored with it, I kept going.
Plus, I kept dream journals. I can’t possibly stop now! J
I have a daughter who inspired a lot of what I write,
and she’s my biggest fan and my best encourager.
The writing journey has taken a winding path through
some interesting projects and opportunities as well, such as church newsletters,
website copy, business writing for work, getting published, winning contests,
starting a writers’ group, and teaching classes for others to get published.
Everything was equally challenging and rewarding, and I can’t wait to see what’s
ahead in life.
inspired you to start the South Jersey Writer’s Group?
A few years ago after some life changes, I had gone
through a long bout of writer’s block, and my daughter missed my writings, so
she encouraged me to start it again. But I needed like-minded friends to
support and motivate me. I went into the nearby bookstore to see if they had a
group already, and they did not have one. So I wrote a few ideas down, walked
in, proposed it and just at that time they were looking for a leader. It was
one of those perfectly timed meant-to-be kind of things.
In the last seven years, I have learned a great deal
more from the other writers than what they learned from me, including what I am
capable of doing and achieving. The support of our writers has been a
tremendous blessing and help for me.
Why is it
important to belong to a writing group?
I am firmly convinced that the understanding of other
artists help to motivate, guide, and shape us into better writers, and more
committed to actually doing the work.
We also learn from each other, and we cheer each other
through every little step, good or bad.
Yes, find a writers’ group and if there is not one
around, form your own! The rewards don’t stop, and you find extended ‘family’.
you like to write (types of stories)?
For the most part, I love to share my faith in stories
and novels. But I also love a good fiction novel with intrigue, twists, and
surprises, so I want to learn to write like that as well. Most of all I like to
keep it REAL, like real people having real decisions to make in the prevalent
issues we face.
Once in a while I dabble in poetry or other genres for
fun and mental exercise, but for the most part it’s typically short stories,
exploratory essays, and fiction novels.
been to the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference this year. Was it worthwhile going
and what did you take away from this experience?
It was worth every penny, and especially since my
attendance was made possible as a wonderful gift from a loved one, I made the
most of it by going every day, entering every contest, and networking with a lot
of fabulous and talented people. From all walks of life, and some seasoned
travelers, the writers and instructors motivated, enriched and encouraged me to
continue what I’m doing, making it better, and they all gave me a needed boost
to show it to the world. I was pleasantly surprised to win an award for a genre
that I just started to explore. The fact that someone else found it worth
reading and enjoyable shows me what else I can accomplish if I just try.
Janice after wining her award
I would recommend going to some kind of writer’s
conference in a writer’s lifetime!!
advice would give to anyone interested in writing?
First, just WRITE! Don’t edit, change or worry just
yet. Also, READ! Read all the books by your favorite authors, really dig in
and ask yourself what it is you like about their stories. Then try and emulate
what you do like but in your own style, which you will develop over time.
Never throw out/delete what you write, because I have
used old things and refreshed them so many times! I recommend keeping journals,
and be descriptive.
And join a writer’s group or form one. Explore the
publishing world together.
Follow the guidelines when you submit work and
Take your time and most of all, ENJOY IT! It is an art
form, your passions and dreams just come out through a pen (or keyboard) instead
of a brush or body movement.
Thank you so much for this interview, Janice. You were instrumental in bringing all kinds of writers together as a group, and we are all proud to be members of the South Jersey Writers Group.
Please follow Janice on the sites below.
Janice M. Wilson