by Carolyn Martin, President, Board of Directors
Thanks to Mary Kibbe who designed our March questionnaire, we gleaned important information about who the VoiceCatcher community really is and what it wants from our organization.
For example, we discovered that 66 out of the 121 respondents consider themselves “emerging” writers. Thirty-one define themselves as “established” and nine consider themselves “professional writers.” Fourteen said they don’t call themselves “writers” at all. They just like to write.
Poets outnumber fiction writers 49 to 32. We also have fifteen non-fiction writers, twelve personal essayists, twelve memoirists, and one flash fiction writer.
Many of us are published authors. We’ve appeared in print publications (49 had work accepted 1-3 times and 27 were published more than 12 times) and in online sites (47, 1-3 times and 15, more than 12 times).
However, only 52 of us have appeared in a VC anthology. The fact that the other 69 respondents find value in our organization was even though they have yet to be published is heartening. We will be looking for ways to make publishing opportunities— supported by mentors and editors—more consistently available to more women as we move forward.
And, of course, we will not forget our brilliant artists! We’ll be using their work to enliven our website/blog and our online journal as well as looking for opportunities to exhibit their work.
How old are we?
From the twenties to the eighties! Four of us are in the 20-29 year-old range; 12 are 30-39 years old; 21 are 40-49; 32 are 50-59; 29 are 60-69; 10 are 70-79; and one claims to be between 80-89.
The fact that one-third of respondents are in their twenties, thirties, and forties bodes well for our future. We will need their energy, enthusiasm, and expertise to continue VC’s work for years to come.
What you want from us
As we reported earlier, publishing and reading opportunities topped the list of priorities. But we also learned a variety of programs were attractive. In order of preference:
- Craft of writing workshops
- Themed contests
- Prompt and free-writing workshops
- Marketing your writing workshops
- Critique groups
- Revision Strategy workshops
- Mentor groups
Once we have our online journal and website/blog staffed, we’ll turn our attention to these activities. Twenty-seven of us have already volunteered to conduct workshops, so we look forward to offering the kind of content that best serves our needs.
We have also helped women form and/or find critique groups. We’d be happy to serve as a springboard for future groups. Just let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll put out a call to the community.
A membership organization?
Finally, since we’re not yet clear about all the pros and cons that becoming a membership organization entails, the board has decided to table this discussion until other priorities are addressed.
The bottom line
It’s obvious that our community wants VC to move forward with its mission to “inspire, empower, and connect women writers and artists in greater Portland/Vancouver.”
However, after four months of clarifying this mission and committing ourselves to it, we recognize that a small group of women can’t pull this off. We need many voices, many hands, many skills to make our important work fun, meaningful, and low stress. Every contribution—long-term or short-term—is key to our success. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how you want to help. This is indeed a community endeavor.