A few years ago, I finally reached the point most writers get to where I read one too many books that made me think "Hey! I can write better than this!" Naturally, writing a book--whether I'm actually better or not--is easier said than done. I've learned a lot of respect for anyone who can finish an entire novel. Seriously. Kudos all around.
Getting in the habit took me a few years and I still struggle at times (for instance, I should be writing my book right now...), but I'm getting better. What I really, really needed was a writer's group, who could encourage me, tell me what I was doing wrong, and sneer at me when I slacked. I tried creating a mini-writer's group with a friend, but he was a bigger slacker than I was! (Sorry, Mclaine. You know it's true.)
My area (unlike the one I grew up in, which has bestsellers thick on the ground all of a sudden) has almost no serious authors. That I know of. Not that I put out an ad, or looked, or asked around, or anything. I can guarantee that no serious authors knocked randomly on my door to invite me to be in their writer's group. Snobs.
Finally, likely realizing that there were lots of wanna-be's like me out there, David Wolverton/Farland decided to start up an online writer's forum, made up of lots of writer's groups. Jim Wolverton, his brother, took over the project, and I was fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor--by which I mean I volunteered to help with absolutely everything I could (including writing the Critique Guide...yeah, I know... stop laughing!) and got to know Jim well enough that when I begged, he let me be the leader of his group. The one he put together himself (since he was in charge of putting everyone in groups). He swears he didn't just cherry-pick the best ones for us, but, really--what are the odds that random selection could produce the awesomeness that is my writer's group?
Anyway, unless things have changed since I last heard the numbers, my group is the most active of them all. By a lot. We chat, we critique, and I, for one, marvel that I get to "hang out" with such talented writers. I'm already a better, more consistent, and more motivated writer.
So thanks to David, Jim, and everyone in my group. Being a wanna-be just got a lot more fun.