The Tulsa Night Writers consist of writers from nearly every genre, lifestyle and writing level. They meet on the third Tuesday of every month at the Allee Beth Martin East Regional Library auditorium at 7 p.m. I attended last week’s meeting, and was taken aback by the warmth the members expressed towards me and the dedication the leaders of the group seemed to have towards the improvement of the writers.
The current president, Joshua Danker-Dake, is a writer, editor and blogger. Looking at the approximately 40 people around me, I saw a majority of them were either middle-aged or older adults. Danker-Dake, standing at the front of the room, spoke to the group with a somewhat youthful energy, however, about changes to the group’s social media pages and continuing the group’s “Accountability Program.”
I soon found out that this is a program where two members team up once a week for a month to encourage and to be encouraged in terms of writing projects. Danker-Dake also introduced this year’s focus for the group, which is “how to tell stories better and make them more compelling.”
Before leaving the podium, he introduced new members into the Night Writers Hall of Fame, including 30 year member Jackie King. King studied journalism at OU and is the author of several books and short stories. She thanked the group by saying, “It was the last thing I expected. It’s a huge honor.”
The current vice president of the group, Donna Jones, commanded the room after Danker-Dake spoke. Jones is the author of the Sheriff Lexie Wolfe novels and “Unbreak Their Hearts,” a book focusing on the abuse of women. She spoke about the meaning of failure, the meaning of success and how to create goals for one’s writing projects.
Jones anecdotally said that she once considered success to be finishing a piece of writing and sending it out, whether or not that writing got published. Mentioning the prevalence of introversion in writing communities,
Jones warned that procrastination on projects and goals can be a fear of not only failure, but also success, when writers fear having to go public or write more for a larger audience.
Jones supplied the group with printed fill-it-in-yourself outlines for every member’s 2017 writing goals and opened the discussion of writing and goal achievement tips up to the group. King commented while the group filled out their outlines, saying, “Everyone has their own style and voice. Write the truth as you see it.”
The meeting lasted about an hour, but the conversations between the members seemed to continue past closing time. People congregated around each other even after they were dismissed, talking about the topics of the meeting, discussing individual projects, or asking about family and friends.
During the meeting, every guest gave a short introduction about themselves and afterwards, I had about six people ask me more about myself and most of them had recommendations on who to talk to about my writing interests. Tulsa Night Writers seems to be more than just a gathering of local writing enthusiasts; it’s also a support group and a family for those who long to create and to share with other creative people. Although it seemed to be largely beneficial to those who no longer have, say, a liberal arts university to supply them with creative spaces, it was refreshing as a college student to be surrounded by writers that are older than I am and that have different lifestyles than I do. Listening to the ideas and the works of the stay-at-home moms and dads, businesswomen and men and many-times-published authors and editors gave me a perspective and wisdom that a college-aged group couldn’t have supplied.
The group is going to host an event on March 6 where publishers will meet and talk with its members. There will be a Q&A session, and it would probably be an opportune time for any curious Tulsan to try out the organization.