Inspire’s web site was down recently, for somewhere between 24-36 hours. As Inspire’s webmaster, I was only too aware of how significant the web site is to what we do. But it was only as I was working hard to make sure all of the functionality was in place and working again that it really struck me, not just that the site is significant, but just how many different things it’s used for. This seemed like a good topic for a blog post. Maybe you’ll see some things here you didn’t realize you could do on the site, or that it’s used for.
The central core of the web site is the blog. Here you will find posts on everything from copyright law to being obedient to God. And what’s more, every Inspire member is free to offer to contribute to the blog. If you’re interested in contributing, visit our Contact Form and select “Blog/Social Media” from the Topic drop-down list.
Online Groups/Discussion Forums
Many of our members have discovered our online groups and their related discussion forums, which currently includes groups for:
- Christian Living Writers
- Inspirational Writers
- Nonfiction (General) Writers
- Fiction (General) Writers
- Young Adult (YA) Writers
Even though several members have joined these groups, very few have ever actually used them. These are a great place to meet up with fellow members, ask questions about a variety of aspects of writing, or simply chat about writing. So, who’s going to step up and get some discussions going?
You can even subscribe to forums, so you get an email notification when a new post or reply is written, or just when someone replies to you. Just remember to use the forums for your discussions, don’t reply to those email notifications instead!
Make it a goal for 2019 to get into the habit of logging into the web site and using these forums regularly.
Online Critique Groups
Following on from the Online Groups/Discussion Forums, we have 2 online critique groups that use these forums as their primary means of communication. The group led by Terrie Brown is especially active and flourishing. Perhaps you could facilitate an online critique group too? Someone has to, why not you?
We also have a men-only group. If you’re a man and interested in joining an online men-only group, visit our Plug Into a Critique Group page and complete the form.
Registering for Events
All of the registrations for Inspire’s events (workshops, special events, etc.) happen via the web site. Currently these include the April Workshop with Jodie Stevens & Robynne Miller and the very special event, An Afternoon with Francine Rivers.
Without the web site, managing these would be so much harder, especially with the formal ticketing we’re using for the Francine Rivers event.
Submitting to Anthologies
We are just entering the season in which you can submit your pieces to the 2019 Inspire anthology: Inspire Grace (more details to follow April 1).
Every year, this is the channel used for submitting pieces to the anthology and is the only valid method of submissions. It’s also where you will be able to read the new guidelines so you can make sure your piece meets the requirements. Stay tuned!
Purchasing and Renewing Membership
The vast majority of our members also join Inspire and renew their membership via the web site. The back end of the site is also where we manage our membership and keep track of our active members for our email newsletters (which I’m sure you all make a point of reading don’t you, as it’s one of our main means of communicating with our members). If you’re not currently a member of Inspire, you can join here. Did you know you can also access copies of our more recent newsletters via the web site too? If not, visit the Newsletter Archive.
Requesting to be Part of a Critique Group
Along with joining Inspire, it’s via the web site that you get to request to be part of a critique group. Critique groups really are central to Inspire’s mission but we can’t have critique groups without facilitators and we could always do with more volunteers. Are you ready to facilitate a group? If so, contact Robynne Miller via our Contact Form and select “Group Leaders” from the Topic drop-down list.
Requesting to have Your Book Added to the Book Store
Another benefit of membership is that you get to list any books you’ve published in the book store. If you’ve published a book but it’s not yet in the Inspire book store, you can request to have it added here.
We recently launched the Professional Services Directory, which lists everything from a CPA to editors who offer discounts to Inspire’s members. Everyone listed in this directory is vetted and approved by Inspire.
If you’re unable to attend our workshops, you can watch or listen to recordings of them online. These are only available to members, so you have to be logged in to access them. To enjoy these recordings, visit the Members-Only Videos page and the Members-Only Audio Recordings page.
Contacting and “Friending” Other Members
Did you know you can friend other members (just like on Facebook) and even send messages directly to other members? You can read about this (and more) in detail in a prior blog post, The Inspire Community: Online.
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This is just a sampling of all you can do on this web site. So, you see, inspirewriters.com is more than just a web site: it’s a community, it’s a membership database, it’s a teaching repository, it’s an event management system, it’s a beacon on a hill, and, most of all, it’s yours to use and enjoy.