Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Writers Match ~By Suzy Leopold

Writers need critique partners and groups to take writing to the next level along the path of becoming published. A critique partner or writing group can be invaluable in helping a writer hone skills and improve one's writing. Sometimes finding the right critique partner or group can be daunting and disappointing. 

It doesn't have to be, thanks to Megan Taraszkiewicz and The Writers Match

Today our guest on the GROG Blog shares The Five Ws + How she founded The Writers Match. 

Allow me to introduce you to Megan . . .

WHO:
My name is Megan Taraszkiewicz and I founded The Writers Match. I started writing Middle Grade and YA but quickly found that I was more well-suited for Picture Book writing. As a former Elementary School Media Specialist, Picture Books were my first love and writing them came naturally to me. I worked two years as a Media Specialist and then my district eliminated all of the positions. No librarians in school?? It makes me so sad to think about. But, since I was heavily pregnant at the time with my first child, getting to stay home with him was such a blessing. 

I wrote periodically while caring for him and after I had a daughter a couple of years later but those first attempts at MG and YA have never (and probably will never) see the light of day. 

As I began to transition to writing PBs, my son, Owen, suddenly and unexpectedly died from a rare disease called HLH. Obviously, I was (and still am) completely and utterly devastated. Life had thrown me the worst thing possible and I had to figure out a way to deal with it. 

I decided that I had to dedicate myself to writing my stories and figure out a way to help other people. I think that The Writers Match grew naturally out of that need to help others and I truly hope that members become better writers because of it.

As for myself, I’ve plowed ahead in my writing. I feel like I am right at the threshold of getting an agent and a book deal and most of that is due to my great writing partners.

Megan Taraszkiewicz
WHAT:
The Writers Match is a website dedicated to helping writers find critique partners. I imagined the site would be like a “Match.com for writers” where you could browse profiles and search for specific writing genres and experience levels. 

Writers of all levels and genres are welcome and there is already a great mix of members swapping stories there. The site is free to join and eventually I hope to offer a paid premium service that will have some great benefits.
WHEN:
I started The Writers Match in February of 2017 after the initial spark to start it came at the end of 2016. There was so much political turmoil and I felt that, personally, starting this to help other people was my way of putting something good into the world. 

I want to be focused on the positive rather than the negative because when you receive a rejection from an agent or bad news from your editor, it can be extremely tough. It’s so nice to have a community of other writers on the journey with you so you can share in those tough times and rejoice when things go well.

WHERE:
The best thing about The Writers Match is that you never have to leave the comfort of your home. On top of writing, I am a stay at home mom and I often don’t have the time to go meet with a writing group. I much prefer swapping manuscripts on my own time and I know many other people feel the same. 

The site is open to writers all over the world and the site is also fully accessible from your smartphone. I wanted writers to be able to access The Writers Match from just about anywhere.

WHY:
I’ve read books on writing and have taken classes but I truly believe that finding a good critique partner is one of the best ways to improve your craft. To get input on your particular story from people in the writing world is so valuable. I am blessed to have a great writing partner (who found me through a mutual friend) as well as a critique group, and I can’t imagine ever writing and submitting a story without them. Too often, writers get stuck in their own writing bubble but we need outside input to improve. Our bubbles need to be burst a bit to get better.

Also, I’m often blown away by how generous the writing community and kid lit community can be. There is so much support and love for each other and celebration when someone succeeds. It’s such a unique and wonderful community to be a part of. I knew that The Writers Match would fit right in and people have been very enthusiastic about the site.

HOW:
When I first started taking my writing seriously, I realized that it was not easy finding a good critique partner or writing group to share my work with. I felt like I scoured the Internet looking for someone. I joined a local writing group but it was not a kid lit group and eventually left to focus solely on my picture book writing. I tried to find partners on Facebook manuscript swaps but that wasn’t easy. My posts would often go unanswered, which felt like more rejection in an already rejection-heavy field of work. In the back of my mind, I’d always dreamed of a matchmaking website for writers. I kept that notion buried back there until I was at a SCBWI Fall Craft Weekend in NJ. As another writer and I were lamenting over how hard it was to find good critique partners, I mentioned my idea and her face lit up. She was so enthusiastic about the idea that the seed was planted and I got the ball rolling a couple of months later.

Sign up today:
It is very easy to join The Writers Match, just visit The Writer's Match and click the word, Register

Fill out your information and start building your profile page. You can add as much or as little as you would like about yourself and your writing but I find that the more you add, the easier it is to find a partner who would work well with you. 

Then you can begin your search for other writers by either scrolling through the members page or utilize the search bar.

You can follow The Writers Match on Twitter.
Happy Spring

45 comments:

  1. Suzy, thank you for bringing this wonderful person & her resource to us.
    Megan, appreciations for sharing your heartfelt story and your adventure in writer connection. I followed on twitter. We should all be so lucky to meet you sometime. I'm so sorry about sweet Owen. I'm glad you found Suzy & now, Group Blog. I look forward to reading your books some day. And I feel there will be many people benefited by The Writers Match.

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  2. This is a great resource for writers. Suzy, thank you for introducing us to Megan and her courageous story and fab match group!

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    1. The kid lit community is filled with many generous stars and Megan is certainly a bright star. Thank you, Kathy.

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  3. I echo Jan's comment--thank you for introducing us to Megan and her fabulous ideas! Megan, I'm so sorry you lost your beautiful son and hope the good you're doing for writers helps to ease some of the pain. Many are benefiting from The Writers Match and I'm positive more will do so. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you, Anne, for reading all about Megan and The Writers Match.

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  4. Some Post! This is so unique and beauty has risen from pain. What a great service for writers. Thanks, Suzy and Megan.

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    1. Your words are so thoughtful and heart warming, Sherri. Thank you.

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  5. great post - thank you so much for introducing us to Megan. Sharing this with our local Shop Talk group, some of whom are looking for critique partners.

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    1. I'm pleased to know that your local Shop Talk group will benefit from Megan's desire to share opportunities with the kid lit community, Sue.

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  6. Suzy thank you for the post. Megan thank you for your good work. So sorry about the loss of your son.

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    1. Life is so precious. May the memory of Owen live on through the work that Megan shares with writers. Thank you, Janie.

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    2. Thank you, Janie. I appreciate your kind words.

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  7. Wow! This is a wonderful interview. Thank you for introducing us to Megan, her story of terrible loss and positive action, and The Writers Match!

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    1. It is truly my pleasure to share Megan's story, Christy. She is admired for her strength and being a positive force for writers.

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  8. I want to thank Suzy for featuring The Writers Match on this great blog. I appreciate being able to tell my story and to inspire other writers. I had a rough week and all of the wonderful comments have been just the boost I needed. Thank you all!

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    1. You are appreciated, Megan. It was my honor to interview you and spread the word about The Writers Match.

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  9. I have used the Writers Match to connect with someone and have swapped two manuscripts. Megan has created an excellent resource for writers. Just like the best picture books, this website has HEART! Thank you Megan for creating this service.

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    1. Nicole: Thank you for sharing your positive experience with The Writers Match.
      ~Suzy Leopold

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  10. You warmed my heart with this gracious post, Megan. The writing community is the best and I am thankful to be a part of it. Thank you for sharing your journey and The Writers Match. It's so important to find liked-minded folk.

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    1. I agree, the writing community is wonderful. Thank you, Charlotte!

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    2. Your support of the GROG Blog is appreciated, Cute Charlotte. You make the kid lit community better.

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  11. Thank you, Megan for sharing your heartache and journey with us. And thank you for wanting to be the match maker. Great idea!

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    1. Thank you for reading the GROG Blog today, Heather. All the best with your writing.
      ~Suzy Leopold

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  13. What a fabulous idea, Megan. Just what I was looking for!

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    1. You are sure to find the right match on The Writers Match, Jarm. Thank you for your support of the GROG Blog.
      ~Suzy

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    2. That's great, Jarm! Lots of great writers are already swapping manuscripts on The Writers Match already. Let me know if you need help.

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  14. I love how you were able to focus on the positive to create The Writers Match, Megan. What a great idea!

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    1. Even though I have not met our featured guest in person, I do feel Megan is a strong woman with a big heart.

      You are appreciated, Patty.

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    2. Thank you both! I hope we all do get to meet in person one day!

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  15. Megan, you can't imagine how much I admire you. To be able to bounce back from an unimaginable tragedy and help others says so much about you. And Suzy, thanks so much for introducing us to Megan. It truly does take a village.

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    1. Introducing Megan and The Writers Match to our GROG Blog followers is my pleasure, Ellen.

      All the best with your writing.
      ~Suzy

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