Joining Stuff – CWA #crimewriting @The_CWA @BritFantasySoc @MishaHerwin @lynnyardley @JillsBookCafe @chataboutbooks1 @Penkhull_Press 

I have joined a lot of things over the years. Some are hobbyist groups and others professional bodies but all have taught me something valuable.

postcardThis week I finally took the plunge and joined the Crime Writers Association (CWA). With three novels in my Bunch Courtney Investigations series and three more to come, plus a number of short stories in crime anthologies (mainly Sherlock Holmes) I figured it was time I took that step.

cwa-logo-blackJoining something like the CWA is really exciting as well as a touch scary. No matter how many things you have joined that nervous anticipation of being the new kid never quite goes away. Unlike some of the societies I have become a part of I do know quite a number of CWA members, which does make things a little less nerve wracking, but I still have that sense of nervous anticipation.

Doing the ‘joining stuff’ thing yet again set me wondering. Joining stuff was never something my parents did, so I have never been quite sure how or where I gained the habit and become such a great advocate over the years.

download (1)Thinking back my joining journey began with an after school ‘radio’ club (making crystal radio sets). It was a wrench to leave it when we moved away, especially as my new school offered only sporting after school activities. I did join the gym club for a few terms but as I managed to break several ribs and sustained two concussions in under a year (in later years I was diagnosed as dyspraxic) I decided maybe it wasn’t for me. Undeterred I carried on joining elsewhere. Girl guides (almost obligatory in the 1960s) came before Nork Youth club where many shenanigans ensued. Joining the Croydon Motorcycle club in my later teens was a far bigger eye opener!

Amongst my volunteering posts was a four year stint as stage manager for the Netherne Strollers; a theatre group staging performances for the Netherne Mental Health Trust. The Strollers disbanded when the Thatcher government closed most mental health hospitals and our theatre was demolished.

Master-Locksmiths-Association-Logo-LargeProfessional bodies are another way of ‘joining stuff’. I was one, if not the, first women in the UK to become a qualified member of the Master Locksmiths Association. (I shan’t go into the furore that caused among the older of their male dominated ranks…)

bfsThough I signed up for British Fantasy Society (BFS) in the late 1980s through my interest in reading fantasy and horror fiction it has undoubtedly formed a part of my professional development as a writer.

cwa-logo-blackWithout joining the BFS I would not have gained the confidence, nor the professional writing credits required, to become a member of the CWA. Exciting times.

What else the future brings who can tell but I have no doubt it will involve ‘joining stuff’ somewhere along the line.

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