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How Joining a Local Historical Association Can Improve Your Writing

Updated on June 3, 2016
Ronna Pennington profile image

Ronna Pennington is a newspaper editor, journalist and freelance ghostwriter and adjunct instructor.

Benefits for Everyone

You may not have thought about joining a local historical association, but if you are training to write non-fiction, it's a great way to get started. Why?

First of all, you benefit from surrounding yourself with others who are interested in non-fiction (in the form of history). Most of these organizations publish annual journals, so many of them can share their own writing experiences with you.

Secondly, the organization will benefit from your membership. They often charge a small membership fee, so your money will help the group. The writings you contribute will likewise help.

Maybe the best part of your involvement in a historical association is the fact that you will be preserving history. Your writings will play an important role for future generations!

What to Write About

Your historical organization may have a list of items they need to have written. If so, your topic choice is taken care of for you! Otherwise, you may have to pick your own subject to write about for the club's annual journal.

Before getting started, familiarize yourself with the types of stories or articles are typically printed in the journal. Also ask for a copy of the writing guidelines. Most organizations focus on a region or subject. Be sure your topic relates.

You may write about a personal experience, a great way to practice essay or memoir writing. You may write about an event in local history -- a good practice to develop research skills. You may write about a person -- an opportunity to build your interviewing skills!

Finding a Group

To find a historical association to join, check with your local Chamber of Commerce. Most of these organizations have a list of community groups that they are happy to share. Browse your local newspaper's upcoming events notices or the local lifestyles pages for updates about club meetings. Your local library can probably connect you with a group as well.

What do you say?

Are you a member of a historical society/assocation?

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    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 5 years ago from Arkansas

      OOooh -- membership cards. I wonder if the one I've joined has them. I've been considering printing some of my own, but a membership card would rock. Thanks for the suggestion, That Grrl!

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I've joined the local historical society. They are pretty quiet and not organized. I like having the membership card. It gives me some legitimacy when I go around taking photos of old places, especially abandoned farm houses in the area.

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Thank you. It's a win/win for everyone. History gets preserved, and we get writing experience :D Thanks for stopping by!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What an interesting suggestion, one I would have never thought of. Thank you for the tip!