Kerrie Flanagan, director of Northern Colorado Writers, is well known among the writing community of Fort Collins. Members of NCW only have smiles for their brave leader, who guides them through the rough waters of the publishing world.
In 2006, with help from author friend, Debbie Dadey, Flanagan organized the first Northern Colorado Writers Conference in March 2006 with 45 attendees.
The next year’s conference required an even bigger location with over 100 writers at the Fort Collins Hilton. It was clear to Flanagan that one big gathering was not enough. So in August of 2007, Northern Colorado Writers was born.
“The writer’s conference she (Flanagan) organizes is one of the best in the state. The instructors are always experienced and helpful and the keynote speakers she attracts are always top notch,” said Chuck Harrelson, NCW member.
“I found that I really loved helping other writers navigate the world of publishing. There was nothing in our area. So in order to get to other writers, I was having to drive to Denver or Boulder, and I didn’t want to do that anymore. So I decided to start a writing organization up here,” Flanagan said.
The organization provides monthly meetings, classes, workshops, a newsletter and a way to stay connected and gain support from fellow writers.
“It gives them the opportunity to meet with other writers and talk shop. When I’ve done surveys before, the biggest benefit for them is being part of a community of writers. Not only do we do classes, events, and things like that, they get a chance to talk with other writers. And it seems like that is the most important component for them. They learn from each other,” Flanagan said.
And Flanagan is the perfect person to lead the organization.
“Kerrie is outgoing, somewhat gregarious but understands the solitude required to be a successful writer. She is always ready to help others when needed,” said Dean Miller, NCW member.
According to Flanagan, the writing community is thriving.
“We’ve had quite a few members who’ve released books. So it’s really fun to watch. All of this accomplishment! And a lot of them have said it’s because of the support they’ve received. They know that there’s people behind them, encouraging them, and it’s given them the courage and confidence to do that,” Flanagan said.
Flanagan has been busy as a freelance writer and writing coach. Along with a co-author, she just released a book called Write Away: A Year of Musings and Motivations for Writers. They took blog posts, essays and other writings and compiled them into one book. She also recently published her second article in The Writer magazine after having published an article in Writer’s Digest earlier this year.
On July 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Old Firehouse Books is partnering with Flanagan to discuss how to be a successful self-published author. Tickets are $35 and include a copy of Flanagan’s book. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
NCW continues to grow and thrive with over 220 members. March 2015 will mark the ten-year anniversary of the writer’s conference.
“My goal is to reach more writers in our community. There’s still people out there who have no idea who we are. So I’d like to find ways to reach out to them and provide that support and encouragement that we all need as writers,” Flanagan said.
NCW members enjoy being part of a supportive group.
“I love being part of a writing community, especially one that is not only supportive and professional, but fun as well. I’ve made wonderful connections with other writers, have taken some amazing classes and I would never miss the annual NCW Conference,” said April Moore, NCW member.
Flanagan has much advice for writers.
“Don’t give up. The successful writers are the ones who persevered and didn’t give up and that means they made time for writing and had enough confidence to get it out there. Find a supportive community to be a part of whether that’s an organization like NCW or you find four or five other writing friends that you can talk with and meet with regularly,” Flanagan said.