Hi Shawanda, welcome to FW! I'm so excited that you found us and even have started exploring. It's a huge site and you're correct about the things you can learn here. I've learned the most from other members. My favorite thing to do is read and comment on the writing challenge. I've learned much about what I like or what might not work and have been able to apply it to my work. I've also received amazing feedback from others and advice that helped so much.
Another huge blessing is the friends I've made. I didn't think it was possible to have such close friends from all over the world. I talk to many on a regular basis. Next is having my stories published or being ready to publish. Seven stories won an Editor's Choice in the challenge and my testimony is in the FW book, Triumph Over Trials
anthology. There is another testimony contest now !
FW is an awesome site. It can be a tad overwhelming because it's so big, but here are some tips for you about the forums and some other favorite spots.
People here are of all ages and have experience ranging from virtually none to having published some books. I think it's amazing how the people with more experience are so willing to help those with less. I'll forever be grateful for all the things people here have taught me.
The Critique Circle is a great place for paid members to receive a detailed critique on their work. Just recently, they have allowed members to pay so much a page for detailed feedback. This is for silver members or members who want a critique but don't have the time to critique someone else's work. That's how the circle works. Each time you leave feedback, you receive a credit to allow you to post a piece and to get a constructive critique. I've found that by leaving feedback for others, I also learn a great deal about what works or doesn't work in my own writing.
You also may want to check out the blogging contest. The word blog used to scare me, but now I've learned that it isn't that big of a deal. The prize is paid writing assignments plus having your article published on 100 blogs.
We are also doing a testimony contest where the top 50 testimonies will be selected for a book. I was part of the first book and it was a wonderful experience.
FW is a great place to meet other Christians and writers. I also think it's awesome because there is people with all kinds of experience here from having published book to having never really written much at all. You may want to check out the Southern Porch and see if you can find others from your neck of the world. viewtopic.php?f=4&t=23748&start=22860
I live in Western New York, but have a son who has fallen in love with North Carolina, especially the winters (go figure). He is at Duke getting his Masters in Divinity as he has started the process of becoming a United Methodist minister. I also have a married daughter who works as a family based counselor for troubled kids. Her dream though is to be an elementary school counselor. The younger daughter is going to college to be a teacher, but she also dreams of joining the Peace Corps.
People here are great encouragers and willing to share their knowledge with others. The Open Forum
is a great place to ask questions about writing and publishing.
You also can find a wealth of info and a variety of people on the boards. It's also a great way to make friends. A great place for writing tips can be found at Jan's Writing Basics.
It might be a bit overwhelming to post at first, but I'd urge you to bite the bullet and jump in. Jan is wonderful at giving invaluable feedback to everyone who tries her thread and posts their "homework."
Also The Water Cooler
is a great place to meet people. They have topics that range from regional areas to just popping in to say hi. In the Water Cooler section they have a regional sections I mentioned.
Another great place to go is Prayer Requests.
It's wonderful to be able to request prayer and to lift others up in need.
Fw is much like a family. There is something for everyone. The people encourage, support, and love each other. Welcome to the family!
I hope I gave you some places to start. The site is huge and there are so many wonderful things here. You may want to check out the FAQ
thread as that may answer many of your questions.
Have fun exploring, jump into conversations and don't be afraid to ask any questions.