Imagination

Staircase: Sagrada Familia

Scripture tells us that God will do exceedingly, abundantly more than all we ask or imagine. It seems to me we need to get busy imagining! Here are some of the things I imagine for the Catholic Writers Guild. (Memo: these have not been vetted by the officers, so they should not be vexed with complaints about them!)

The Guild has an active inter-member communications hub. We ‘meet’ in that space regularly and feel we are in the presence of an invigorating crowd of fellow writer/evangelist/artist/Catholics who are looking for ways to link up in the real world of regional guild affiliates, local retreats, conferences, book signings and whatever else we can think up. I can get word out to Guild pals when my news is hot, my need is urgent, or my opportunity knocks. I can start a discussion and get a good mix of input from fellow members.

The Guild provides me with umbrella membership in the Catholic Press Association and Catholic Library Association, so I get discounts at their conferences and other member benefits.

The Guild has scholarships to send at least one member to each of several major Catholic conferences annually. That writer scouts the venue for us all, blogging or writing a newsletter article about leads for stories that need to be written – Catholic people who need to be featured, Catholic ministries that need press, great ideas that need wider distribution, grassroots movements that need PR and support. How many bookstores are in their exhibit space? Would this one be a good place to try a Guild table?

Guild awards stimulate not only a renaissance in Catholic literature (Go CALA!!!), but also in Catholic arts,  through its Illustrator, Book Design, and Best-in-Arts-Writing awards.

Guild speakers contribute to various Catholic conferences in order to stimulate others to write, to share their stories, and to come to the Guild when they need a writer. Speakers (and those Guild scholarship attendees) then schmooze around the exhibit hall thinking up creative ways to link writers to the ministries and book stores there. They are walking ‘Guild tables’ and carry lots of Guild brochures to hand out.

Guild Book Reviewers are given a space to re-post reviews they do elsewhere. We can search for fellow members who write reviews and see all of their work in one place. Contact, linking up, more reviews.

The Guild has so many members it has to create sub-divisions for Bloggers, Reviewers, Teachers, Speakers, Journalists, Poets, Business/Marketing/PR/Copywriters, Novelists, etc… . Don’t worry – you can be in all that apply!

A sense of community develops and the Guild, or its sub-divisions and regional Guild affiliates, begins to generate creative collaboration projects. Members contribute to books published by Real Publishers – anthologies of contemporary Catholic fiction, spiritual reflections on special topics, encouragement for writers, educational materials.

The Guild is the go-to place to post job announcements, find editors, seek reviewers, develop virtual tours, ask for introductions, announce new Catholic magazines, find Catholic writers guidelines, get free help with a ministry need, and seek a speaker.

There is a tremendous sense of unity and goodwill and responsiveness within the Guild. The annual conference continues to bless whoever is lucky enough to go, and they feel supported by real, human fellow members when they return to virtual contact.

Member websites all carry the Guild shield and can link easily to the whole Guild Catalog. Some members even stream the Guild blog in their sidebars, pin a few favorite member books every month, buzz up each others’ virtual tours and good news, and look for opportunities to call attention to Catholic writers.

Donors fund a trip to Rome for Guild officers! Podcasters sign up for interviews with our Prez on her ‘dance card’ at the Guild table! A publishing contract with a huge PR budget is awarded to the winner of the Guild’s poetry chapbook and first novel contests! The Guild’s Student Division attracts hundreds of high school and college writers, funds summer camps for intensives in writing and theology, offers assistance to Catholic newspapers at secular colleges, and collaborates to produce a journal of the best student writing online.

Well, none of this is impossible, and I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s already being imagined by me and others! We don’t offend God when we think big. We run to meet Him where He lives: in the land where Ideas become Real!

I wonder what everyone else is imagining for the Guild. It would be delightful to hear your wildest dreams. Please comment!

 

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4 Responses to Imagination

  1. Nancy Ward says:

    Wow! What a list to anticipate fulfillment. How about a round-robin critique group centered at CWG where writers give and get feedback from other writers in an orderly and fair structure?

  2. I’m in…………..how can I help with any of these great imaginings????
    KC

  3. Great ideas, Charlotte. A little progress report on a few of them:

    1) Communications Hub: Our overhauled website will go into testing phase in the next week or two, with a targeted go-live date in early June. As we get a feel for our new cyber-home, we should figure out what the very best options are for communicating with each other, and concentrate our efforts on making the most of those outlets.

    2) Book reviews — Bring ‘em on! We have the space, right here, and you may have noticed Julie Davis has been cross-posting her Happy Catholic Bookshelf reviews. What I do need is someone with strong WordPress skills who can be the behind-the-scenes publisher for reviews submitted for cross-posting. I’ll be keeping an eye during testing phase on what part of the new website will lend itself to making the submission process smoother.

    3) The Guild Shield: You may have noticed, we’ve quietly unrolled our updated logo here on the blog. (Waiting for the new site before we do the “grand debut”) Is there someone who can help me make the sidebar widget code for people who want to c&p code into their site?

    4) Guild Catalog: Is in the very embryonic stage. Perhaps just a twinkle in the officers’ eyes, but we’re twinkling! Volunteers with strong design and technical experience are most heartily welcome.

    5) CWG Members as a resource for the wider community — bookstores, schools, you-name-it . . . Yes. Yes. Very much on our radar. This is a project where we could use a volunteer with rock solid database skills.

    And I think the rest just follows from that base. We are growing bit by bit. We have a few small critique groups . . . more are always welcome. We run two conferences and a retreat every year, and have local affiliates in the works, as well as “friends in the field” connections to faithful Catholic writers groups around the country.

    We are also solidifying our relationships across the Catholic world, and working with strategic partners wherever there’s a common mission.

    As a relative newcomer to the CWG, I’m so grateful for all the work our founders have done to build up our organization from ground zero. Every new project we do is *always* the work of another member who’s come along, had the vision, and made it happen. That’s how we grow, and Charlotte I’m with you 100% on your vision for the life of the Guild.

    Jen.
    blog@catholicwritersguild.com

  4. YAY!!! It’s all very exciting! I think the inter-member communications will be a key to the whole thing. I see the need elsewhere in Catholic-land: in our archdiocese, the newspaper reports but does not help interconnect Catholics across the diocese….sort of a top-down dissemination of information, but I think we need a bottom-up in-semination, a cross-pollenization (spelling??) of interests that is still faithful, orthodox, loyal. I want you officers to hear me say, again, THANK YOU for all you’ve done to build a Guild we can now dream about!