Women Who Sail Who Write: our writing group is six months old!

Cover photo for the group – nuts and bolts and screws for when we screw up! (Taken at Minney’s Yacht Surplus in Newport Beach)

Back in November when we were anchored in San Diego I was feeling the effects of being on the move, without a solid group of friends or colleagues around me. I wasn’t getting much time to myself or to talk through stuff with friends, and, although I’d hoped to keep up my daily writing habit when we left Vancouver, it was hard to find time between sailing, provisioning, laundry, route planning, boat jobs, parenting, socializing, and exploring all the new places we were traveling through. I’ve been a member of the amazing Women Who Sail Facebook group and a couple of its sub-groups for a few years now – such great sources of knowledge, support, and advice – and after seeing a few comments about writing from other members, I realized what I needed was totally within reach:

A virtual writing group!

Where the group members would understand if you were off-line for days or not getting much time for writing because you were busy getting organized in a new place. Where you could say ‘yay me, I wrote a sentence I’m pleased with’ and know that somebody would be excited for you. Where you could moan ‘I feel like a failure because I only write a blog post about every six months!’ and somebody would commiserate because they’re in the same boat.

Woman who sails who writes – at work on Illusion

Six months later the Women Who Sail Who Write Facebook group has almost 400 members and it’s fulfilling my hopes of becoming a space that can function as a virtual writing group for those who aren’t based in one place, and a place to motivate, support, and advise each other as we work on our writing, at whatever level. Among us are established writers with multiple publications, successful bloggers with huge readerships, total beginners who are just getting going with their first blogs or stories, people like me who’ve written a PhD dissertation but want to get better at other types of writing…  all kinds of writers at all different stages of their writing journeys.

Charlotte Kaufman, founder of Women Who Sail, writer, and queen of managing Facebook groups, offered to come on board from the start as a group admin – thank you for your inspiration and support Charlotte! Then, having watched blogger and author Ellen Jacobson‘s lovely way of interacting in the group and general positive attitude, we asked her to join the team too.  I love sharing the vision of the group with these two amazing women, and getting their insight and support to help build a great network.

Reading Ellen Jacobson’s new novel, Murder at the marina, in Alegría, El Salvador

We share our writing, discuss publishing knowledge, ask for feedback, celebrate each others’ successes, and generally chat about writing stuff. There are all sorts of ideas for future projects (maybe an anthology? maybe other kinds of collaborative projects? a group website?) and hopefully over the next six months and beyond that the group will continue its mission to motivate and support women who sail who write. If you, or someone you know, is a woman who’s into sailing and writing, read the group guidelines and if it sounds right for you, come along and join us!

Check out some of the works published by group members:

Charlotte Kaufman is writing a memoir and a novel and probably lots more besides. You can support her work through her Patreon page here.  Ellen Jacobson’s new book, a cozy mystery called Murder at the Marina, is a great summer holiday read! It will be launched on June 21st and is available for pre-order here.

There are sailing books of all types….

Guidebooks by group members include Learn to Sail: From Princess to Pirate by Lucinda Barker, Cruising The Wild Atlantic Way and Happy Hooking: The Art of Anchoring by  Daria Blackwell and her husband, Voyaging With Kids by Behan Gifford et al, which should be a staple on every cruising family’s boat, How NOT to buy a cruising boat by Deb Akey and Cruisers’ AA by Jackie Parry and her husband.

Sailing memoirs from members of the group include: Finding Pax: one woman’s journey for the love of her wooden boat by Kaci Cronkhite, Crossing the Pacific: A Sailing Adventure by Lisa Jennings Hackett and Jackie Parry’s This Is It: 2 Hemispheres, 2 people, and 1 boat

There’s even a sailing book with a cat as the protagonist: Bailey Boat Cat by Louise Kennedy.

There are books for children like Take Shelter and Birthdays by Dani Tate-Stratton, Dema’s Mr Sun and the Super Sleepy Sunday and Purple Planet, and Daria Blackwell’s Onyx the Cruising Kitty, and books to delight all ages like Moyo’s Journey, whose illustrations are reproduced from beautiful silk paintings by author-artist Miranda Roberts.

Novels include these ones by Kate Biegel, Destiny’s Gold by mother-daughter writing team Ida Frans, Daria Blackwell’s The Naked Truth: A nautical murder mystery, and Autumn Ware’s recently published campy adventure novel Les Stone Cold Killers.

There’s non-fiction by group members too like Cait Boyce’s American Sons: The Untold Story of The Falcon and The Snowman,  Elizabeth Gehrman’s fascinating Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man who Brought it back from Extinction  and for the painters out there, Elizabeth Tyler’s Watercolour in Detail.  Another member, Liesbet Collaert, has published self guided walking tours for Philipsburg, St Maarten, and Marigot, St Martin.

Two magazines are published by members of our group, too: SisterShip and Caribbean Compass. And there are also LOTS of great blogs written by group members so I’ll save them for another post/time.

Hope you find something of interest in this varied list – let us know which books you enjoyed!

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