A Short History of CBW-LA and the Anthology

What is CBW-LA?

As an aspiring author, CBW-LA Founder Nutschell Anne Windsor knew that a solid writing community is an essential part of surviving the long and often lonely road to publication. So when she began her writing journey, she immediately went in search of a writing group that could not only give her the support and inspiration she needed to keep on writing, but also guide her with the knowledge she needed to pursue a writing career.

She found many wonderful groups, but none perfectly fit the schedule she had or the format she wanted. Nutschell wanted a group focused on children’s book writing that met regularly near her home. She also wanted a writing group that provided affordable workshops and monthly writing classes.

Novelist Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Inspired by Toni’s insight, Nutschell thought the same rule should apply to writing groups. On June 30, 2010, she founded the Torrance Children’s Book Writing Group on Meetup.com. Within a few days, eight other people had joined, and two weeks later, Nutschell facilitated her first ever writing session with four other members.

From then on, Nutschell used her teaching experience to facilitate a variety of writing workshops and critique sessions. Through her networking efforts, Nutschell also began inviting published authors to conduct workshops, enabling her members to get the best education and insider knowledge while allowing authors to promote their work and get in touch with a new group of readers.

Attendance grew steadily, as did membership. In early 2011, the group’s name was shortened to Torrance Children’s Book Writers.

Nutschell established a leadership team to help her organize the group, assigning trusted members with unique roles and responsibilities. A full list of past board members is provided in the acknowledgements at the back of this book.

Currently, CBW-LA’s Board of Directors include the following hard-working ladies: Nutschell Anne Windsor, Head Scribe (President); Lucy Ravitch, Second Scribe (Secretary); Tiffani Barth, Chamberlain (Treasurer); Alana Garrigues, Stationer (Publications Editor) and Angie Flores, Solicitor (Marketing Manager).

Also in 2012, the group officially changed its name to Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles, or CBW-LA for short. The group filed for a non-profit status, and in August of the same year, they received a 501 (c)(3) exemption status with the IRS and the State of California.

CBW-LA continues to educate and inspire writers in varying stages of their writing careers. The group has become known for its affordable, highly-rated and organized workshops, creative writing classes, and critique group sessions. Writing events are designed to accommodate all members’ needs—whether they are beginning writers who want to know how to begin a novel, aspiring authors who wish to travel along the winding road to publication, or published authors who want to cross over from their current genre to children’s book writing.

Nutschell started the group in the hopes of bringing together kindred spirits who would help each other grow and succeed as writers. Three years later, CBW-LA has surpassed all of her expectations. The small group has evolved into a thriving community with nearly 300 members. Most importantly, regular, active members have emerged as a driven bunch, determined not only to support each other’s writing, but to help each other get published.

 

How Was the Anthology Started and What’s Inside?

The Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles Writing Day Anthology was conceived during a board meeting in the fall of 2012. We wanted to find a way to support our authors on their journey to publication and infuse the year with creative energy. We also had a goal of modest fundraising for our club. With that in mind, we found delight in the idea of compiling an anthology of raw, in-the-moment writing.

Since our organization was founded on the principles of support and education, we felt a full day focused on the craft of writing, with the promise of a published piece by the end, fit the bill exactly.

Though the board members organized the workshop, it could not have happened without the men and women who participated in our first ever CBW-LA Writing Day Anthology. We were confident our idea was strong, but its success was entirely dependent on brave, creative writers willing to dedicate a single day to tap into ideas and expose vulnerabilities. We celebrate them for allowing us to share their work with the world through a final published piece.

Writers, we thank you. We applaud you. We admire you. We appreciate that you shared your time and your talent with all of us.

Readers, we now invite you on a journey. A peek into the exercises, discussions, and writing tips, tricks, and techniques that our writers experienced one June day in a library meeting room just south of the Los Angeles International Airport.

Please, join us. Try the exercises. See if the tips strike a chord. Play, have fun, and share with your friends.

Then read how our writers conquered the challenges and offer them your support. Each author submitted two pieces—one on writing and the second inspired by a photograph.

Check out the blogs and author sites listed in the Author Bios section, leave comments wherever you purchased the book, and keep your eyes and ears open for their names as they trickle into book stores with the stories and ideas they create on their own.

Welcome, and on with the stories!

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