I first came across Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship ten years ago. We met in the back matter of a 2001 Christmas anthology published by Essence. As I read the bios of the contributors I came across many who belonged to Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship (Alberta). Curiously, only one of these people lived in Alberta. The rest came from B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. Could that mean that Inscribe was an organization for more than just Alberta writers, I wondered?
It took me a little while to find them (internet newbie that I was back in '01), but I eventually did and discovered they were indeed Canada-wide and beyond, making connections via email and online. I soon decided to join, and Inscribe has been like a writing family to me ever since. Here are some of the reasons I love being a member:
1. Writer friends.
As an Inscribe member I never need to feel alone or isolated as a writer. Each member gets an invitation to join Inscribe's Yahoo forum where we can connect at the click of a mouse. Even if you're like me and choose to lurk more than chime in on the conversation, it's so nice to have this daily connection with other writers.
One of the perks of membership is a subscription to Inscribe's quarterly newsletter, FellowScript. I find FS a great source of information and inspiration when it hits my mailbox every February, May, August, and November.
3. My own poetry column
I felt hugely honoured when I got the assignment to write a poetry column for FellowScript back in 2005. Writing my Line Upon Line column for each issue is a wonderful challenge for me to keep on top of all things poetic.
The writerly development of Inscribe members is further encouraged at regular conferences. These happen about twice a year at some location in Alberta. I have had the privilege of attending one and it was a fabulous time of learning and meeting people in the flesh that I had up till then met only online.
The beautiful cake that the Inscribe organizers (Marcia reminds me it was Sue Plett - thanks Sue!) commissioned to celebrate the launch of Marcia Laycock's novel One Smooth Stone and my poetry collection Family Reunion at the Inscribe Fall Conference, 2007.
Inscribe also sponsors regular contests (often in conjunction with the conferences). At various times I've been a winner, a runner-up and a judge in these. They are an opportunity to work up a piece of writing and, if one chooses, even get it critiqued.
6. Online presence.
Finally, I must mention Inscribe's online presence. The website is a virtual smorgasbord of helpful articles and links available to everyone — not only members. They also publish a group blog where individual members get to showcase their writing.
So, if you're a Canadian Christian writer who is going it alone, consider joining Inscribe. At only $40 a year for residents of Canada, $50 for US and international residents, I'm sure you'd agree it's a bargain!
This post is part of the July's Inscribe blog tour.