If you’re a writer, join the club! (At NSNC, I mean)

imageHey, let’s be honest.

Being a writer is weird.

Most people, given a choice between writing a 200-word essay or being taised in the bare buttocks, would drop their pants before you can say “It was a dark and stormy nigh-AAAAAggghhh!”

Particularly in today’s faced-paced, text-speak oriented world of social media shorthand, the thought of spending hours toiling over words in order to convey an idea, feeling or moment is — in the words of Master of Horror® Stephen King — “A little creepy. But I like it.”

Several years ago, I let my membership to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists lapse. As a result, publishers stopped taking my calls; I entered into a period of writer’s blockage similar to eating a two-pound brick of cheddar; thousands unfriended me on Facebook; I burned my pizza; the list goes on.

Ok, fine. None of that happened, although I did burn a pizza.

Coincidence? We’ll never know for sure. 

In all seriousness, it wasn’t until I renewed my membership this year that I realized the benefit of having insights and perspectives from other writers going through the same experiences I was. It’s the kind of support network we all need while pursuing this creative endeavor that those who aren’t writers often don’t understand. In fact, I was so inspired by my own membership that I offered to be the NSNC’s new membership chairman (before they could reconsider or sober up after the convention.) One of my responsibilities is to increase membership. This isn’t something I would normally do because 1) I’m not much of a joiner, 2) I don’t like “selling” things and 3) I really need to keep an eye on my pizza.

In this case, however, I was happy to do it because I’ve seen the benefits — for myself as well as other writers — that come with being part of a group that speaks the same language. As anyone who follows my blog knows, I try as much as I can to help other writers find their voice, a sense of direction and the perspective they need to be successful — which is defined differently for everyone. Regardless of what that definition is, it seems to fit with NSNC because of the diversity of writers who make up its membership. Whether you are a columnist, blogger, editorialist or write Hobbit erotica, you’ll find other members who can identify with you (although, to be honest, most of our Hobbit erotica writers don’t want to be identified.)

If the NSNC was only for newspaper columnists, I wouldn’t be talking about it here, nor would I have become its membership chairman. It was the organization’s overall support of writers and bloggers that drew me back in — and inspired me to reach out. In addition to having that support network, there’s also a monthly newsletter with articles written by members about how to improve your craft, industry news, information on contests, and more; access to all NSNC social media sites for members’ latest posts; eligibility in the NSNC’s annual writing contest for columnists, bloggers, digital media, etc; and partnership with groups like the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, National Press Club, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the NSNC Education Foundation, which provides scholarships for aspiring college columnists each year.

Oh, and you get a cool badge to post on your website, blog or social media page letting others know, for all intents and purposes, that your are way cooler than they are.

My apologies if that last paragraph sounded like a sales pitch, but I think the most misunderstood thing about the NSNC is that it’s some kind of club only for established, snooty newspaper columnists.

I mean, come on! I’M a member!

I bring this all up because the deadline for 2017 membership is Dec. 31, and I would love to see many of you with NSNC badges on your blog come January… or possibly even wearing them as full back tattoos. Either way, I hope you’ll consider joining me as a NSNC member for the coming year. If you’d like more information or are saying to yourself, “Ned’s post is so compelling I must join RIGHT NOW!” you can click on the icon below.

Or, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at nedhickson@icloud.com

Click here to be cooler than most other people
Click here to be cooler than most other people

Heck, maybe we can even get a tattoo together?




Ned Hickson is a nationally syndicated humor columnist with News Media Corporation and the editor of Siuslaw News. He is also the author of Humor at the Speed of Life, a collection of more than a decade of humor columns; and Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist, a writer’s survival guide. Both are available from Port Hole Publishing.

Published by

Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

44 thoughts on “If you’re a writer, join the club! (At NSNC, I mean)”

  1. If I were a professional writer I would definitely want to join this org . I don’t guess they care about poets, so nerdy.

    1. I’ll be honest, there isn’t a lot for poets in terms of networking or contests. However, just being exposed to so many writers with different styles, experience and backgrounds is inspiring.

      And hey, you’re talking to a nerd 😉

  2. Being asked to join was one of the coolest things we received at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. Your group has made me feel more than welcome, and I am looking forward to engaging more in 2017 – especially if we’ll be getting matching tattoos. Thank you for all that you do for the writer’s community – you da bomb!

  3. You got me laughing so much I had to check this out. And right about now, I’m having one of those internal tug-of-wars. No, not the kind where my spleen and liver are duking it out with a bit of intestines. The kind where I’d give anything to not be homeschooling my kid, or not have to do things like feed my family every day, so I could sit and just write. Who am I kidding. I write anyway. I’m just too cheap right now.

    1. I totally get it, Susan. All I can say is, if there’s something you can give up in its place, the NSNC membership is worth it. However, I’m always here for suggestions or advice — no membership necessary 😉

  4. Recent experiences have taught me that writing for friends (and trusting them to guide my fledgling attempts at an actual writing career) probably wasn’t the wisest choice. Maybe before chucking it altogether, I’ll give your way a try.

    You’re gonna share that pizza, right?

    1. You’d be surprised how helpful getting feedback from other committed writers can be, compared to just family and friends 😉

      And as long as you aren’t a vegetarian, I’ll be happy to share my pizza. Or maybe I should put it this way: I’ll happily share my pizza. But if you’re a vegetarian, you probably won’t be very happy with my pizza…

  5. What if I don’t want to be cooler than other people? Because I think being cool is slowly but surely losing its coolness, and soon enough it will not be cool to be cool.

  6. Firstly, totally down for the tattoo 😜, and the cool kids club badge, but I’m just wondering how it would benefit me. I’ve been approached about the possibility of writing a column, I’m still on the fence . . . I feel like I’d be crashing a black tie party dressed up footie pajamas!

    1. We need more of us footie-pajama’d columnist types crashing the party! As for how being a NSNC member can benefit you, it can help give you a feel for what to expect should you decide to become a columnist — and a great resource if you commit to doing it.

      Plus, you know… tattoo 😉

  7. Also, I have an awesome picture of me in monkey footie pajamas. On my blog. It is disturbing. I even wrote a character into my action/humor sci fi series of novels called ‘Mr. Feety Jammies… it makes sense in context.

  8. Ned you crack me up! You could sell snow to Eskimos if you wanted to because you have that personality to make people feel welcome. Now I clicked on the link you added in the 2nd paragraph NSNC, but it was a ‘dead’ page. Just thought I’d let you know. Now, please where can I read more about this organization, and how much will it cost me? LOL You had me at Erma Bombeck writers, her early articles had a big influence on my passion for writing. 🙂

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the link, Deb! I’ll double-check it and make sure it’s working. Below if the link to the NSNC home page. From there, you can get all the info you need, including the membership page — and yeah, Erma Bombeck has influenced so many of us 😉

    1. You should game plenty of faith, Robert. And don’t take the fact that it has taken me forever to get back to you as a sign of anything other than my own inability to manage my own time 😉

      1. No worries, Ned.
        I’m not exactly writing at a Speedster’s pace these days either. I have no idea when this new project of mine will be finished but taking my time is actually a good thing I think.

        Perhaps if I’d adopted a similar pace on the last book things would have turned out differently.

    1. There’s always room for poets, and you wouldn’t be the only one, Sobia! Whatever your aspirations are, being part of a truly supportive group of writers from around the country is a good thing 😉 Hope to see your NSNC badge posted soon!

No one is watching, I swear...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s