Happy Birthday, 9 Bridges!

March 30 marks the first anniversary of our 9 Bridges writing community. I would just like to thank every single member of 9 Bridges, as it is all of you who have made it all possible.

One year ago Vargus Pike, Mark Harrington and I made the bittersweet decision to leave CHWG and branch out on our own as 9 Bridges. It was a difficult choice, as it meant broken friendships, long hours and a lot of hard work for us. At the same time, we felt a responsibility to the writing communities we had started in Portland, Missoula and Phoenix. There was a fair amount of uncertainty in the beginning and one or two days when we asked ourselves, “What were we thinking?” The reality was that it would have been far easier for us to step away, let the chapters die, and go back to the far less stressful pastime of solitary writing.

However, the overwhelming support we received – not only from our chapters, but also from the writing community as a whole – put our fears to rest and we knew we had made the right decision. In the past year we’ve doubled our size, attracting the attention and support of writing organizations in Portland and other areas. All of our wonderful chapter leaders and event hosts have stayed with us and we’ve even started a successful fourth chapter in Pasadena.

We have a great deal to celebrate on our first anniversary. We have some real achievements under our belt as well as exciting things coming up in the not-too-distant future. We have a brand new Board of Directors, whose members add a wealth of knowledge and diverse experiences, ranging from HR to fundraising. But while these are exciting, they pale beside the real success: helping authors. Many of our authors credit 9 Bridges as contributing in some small way to their own success.

I’ll admit, last year I didn’t get to do as much creative writing as I wanted, and running this organization was one of the big reasons. However, every time someone reaches out and tells me how much this group has helped them, it makes every minute I’ve spent on 9 Bridges worth it. I’ll gladly trade a couple of hours of my own writing time to provide a homeless author with a supportive community at a critique group, encourage a writer with social anxiety to read out loud, connect a children’s author to a children’s book publisher or any of the many other contributions I’ve been able to make to support 9 Bridges Writers this year. I’m excited to see how many more authors we can reach this year through building bridges.

Keep Writing!

Elizabyth Harrington,
Executive Director, 9 Bridges

9 Bridges Endorsed by People’s Ink

[quote author=”Peoples Ink” position=”Friend of 9 Bridges”] 9 Bridges is worth checking out, especially for those who want to workshop in a read-out-loud / active listening format.[/quote]

Last month, 9 Bridges was able to make a new connection in Portland, Oregon. While at the Willamette Writers open house, we met Richard Pope, founder of People’s Ink, a local writers community, After a great discussion about the similarities and differences in our two groups, we all came to the conclusion that our organizations compliment each other very well.

About People’s Ink:

the-peoples-ink-logoThe People’s Ink is an open, free and independent writers’ community open to writers committed to their craft, 21 and over. They meet each week for critique and discussion groups. They are a self-publishing cooperative that promotes local readings, and have a community zine – Typehouse – which showcases the writing of regional and national authors. Members may participate however they wish.

For more information, please visit http://peoples-ink.com/

Announcing 9 Bridges

PORTLAND, OREGON – March 27, 2015 – The Coffee House Writers Group (CHWG) announced today that it has plans to divest itself of all of its chapters outside of CA. CHWG will continue to support aspiring writers in Southern California through its critique groups but has announced that, at this time, it does not wish to continue serving communities outside of Southern California. All chapters outside of California will be absorbed by the 9 Bridges Writers Guild.

9 Bridges forms a nationwide community of writers, connected through both local chapters and a larger online community. It is headed up by long-time CHWG Board members Mark and Elizabyth Harrington, who served respectively as as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer for CHWG.

9 Bridges will assume leadership over the existing CHWG chapters located in Portland, OR, Missoula, MT, and Phoenix,AZ. During the inception of the new organization, the format of the chapters will stay the same, but the organization envisions an evolution towards serving writers throughout multiple stages of their journey. “There are so many writers groups out there, operating as small islands,” Elizabyth Harrington explains. “Our vision is to unite writers through creating bridges connecting these communities.”

Mark Harrington has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer of 9 Bridges and will be responsible for the organizational infrastructure and fiscal stewardship of the organization. Elizabyth Harrington, meanwhile, will preside as Executive Director and will be responsible for the day to day operations and growth of 9 Bridges.

Vargus Pike, longtime member of the Portland Chapter and CHWG Board member, will be assuming the position of Chairman of the Board of 9 Bridges. Vargus has been a valuable asset to the Portland group and will continue to bring his leadership skills and vision to 9 Bridges.

Of the future of 9 Bridges, CHWG Founder and CEO, Christine Marie Bryant said, “Mark and Elizabyth have done so much for the Coffee House Writers Group. They have an amazing vision and passion for helping writers, and I know they will do amazing things with 9 Bridges.”

About 9 Bridges Writers Guild: 9bridges.org is dedicated to supporting writers in all stages of their journey to pursue their craft. In addition to providing peer review and support in the form of critique groups, 9 Bridges gives writers access to a wide community through workshops, events, online forums and the promotion of events that are interesting and benefit our members.  9 Bridges is dedicated to flexibility – through community connections we can quickly adapt to fill a writer’s needs, whether they are just starting out or have published a dozen best sellers.

Contact:

Elizabyth Harrington
Executive Director
elizabyth.harrington@9bridges.org

A Community for Writers

Writer. The word conjures up images of an infinitely wise, Yoda-like being that churns out amazingly complex things called “books” or even more profound creations called “poetry” while drinking a lot of red wine, listening to exotic music and surrounded by six-toed cats. However, while anyone who uses any type of written communication is by definition a writer, most people hesitate to embrace that title. There seems to be this strange perception that there exists a mythical being called a “writer” – and that the rest of us could never achieve that lofty position. The truth of the matter is that we’re all writers – simply because we all write.”
— Elizabyth Harrington

9 Bridges is dedicated to supporting writers in all stages of their journey in the pursuit of their craft. In addition to providing peer review and support in the form of critique groups, 9 Bridges offers writers access to a wide community through workshops, events, online forums and the promotion of events that are of interest and benefit to our members. 9 Bridges is dedicated to flexibility – through community connections we can quickly adapt to fill a writer’s needs, whether they are just starting out or have published a dozen best sellers.

Our meetings are open to everyone, and offer opportunities for writers from many diverse communities to come together for the purpose of improving their craft. Our members include seniors and youth, the homeless, college students, teachers, developmentally and intellectually disabled people, published authors, hobbyists, members of the LGBTQ community, and everything in-between. What they all have in common is a love and desire to write. Our critique format encourages writers not only to have a voice, but to listen to each other as well.