The Journey

June 2019 View more

Writing Journey member Eleanor Roth with Danielle Egan-Miller

Romance novelist Kelly Duff long sensed a void in the solitary process of writing. But she couldn’t figure out how to fill it.

Then in 2012, she joined the Naperville region of National Novel Writing Month (, an annual event designed to encourage writers to complete a novel in just 30 days. Through it she found the Writing Journey (, a year-round writing community with members across the suburbs. Her involvement in the group has been well spent as a published author in the group’s annual anthology, but it’s the community that she cherishes.

“Being a published author has been the greatest benefit, but I have to say it’s the camaraderie I thrive on,” Duff says. “Some of the best critiques I’ve received were from writers who don’t write contemporary romance. They look at my work with a different set of eyes.”

Like Duff, Jenny Johnson has benefited from the group. “The Writing Journey has helped me meet people in the area, and it’s also helped me find accountability partners, people to help me brainstorm with, and it’s opened my eyes to different parts of the craft and publication. Plus, both the stories that I’ve had published in the last six months started as Journey projects.”

The Writing Journey has existed in various forms since 2006. After participating in National Novel Writing Month ( that year, a group decided to form a year-round writing club. Now sponsored by the Glen Ellyn and Woodridge public libraries, the Writing Journey has 60 active members and over 200 on its mailing list. The Naperville Library continues to support the annual NaNoWriMo efforts each fall.

Unlike many writing groups, the Writing Journey created an à la carte approach, comprising various activities and subgroups called Paths. Paths include publication in an anthology, a critique group, editing, Shakespeare Reader’s Theatre, monthly general meetings, social events, and workshops. The group welcomed Browne & Miller Literary Associates’ president Danielle Egan-Miller (above) to its February general meeting.

Since 2009 the group has published 10 anthologies, available on Amazon, including The Love Anthology, a collection of poems, short stories, and flash fiction.

Cofounding member and lead editor Tim Yao works a day job as a technologist. With Writing Journey, he gets to work a different part of his brain. “Being a part of a creative community is wonderful. It’s the whole reason I got involved in the first place,” he says.

Photo courtesy Tim Yao