LWR Turns THREE!
The Lexington Writer's Room incorporated on February 13, 2020. In other words, we're a toddler. Or twenty-one in dog years and ready to order a double bourbon!
2022 in Review - The Org is Strong
When we first opened our coworking space, we had no idea what the first three years would be like—we couldn’t have known! And while we don’t want to repeat some situations—pandemic and fire, for example—our community for writers has grown and strengthened in ways we’re very grateful for.
We ended our tumultuous 2022 on a high note that we’ll build on this year. Here are a few numbers, but first a quick reminder about our business model. The Lexington Writer’s Room exists to help local writers produce more work and build their readerships. We fulfill our mission by providing our member writers a well-equipped coworking and gathering space and opportunities to meet and learn from peers. We’re a nonprofit organization because most writers—even the well-published ones—cannot afford professional office space. Our writers pay a highly subsidized membership fee and we rely on donations and seek grants to pay for the remainder of our operating costs.
50 writer members who pay $1,975 in membership dues
Approximately $4,250 in monthly operating costs
85 writer members who pay $2,890 in membership dues
Approximately $5,000 in monthly operating costs
Forecast 90-100 members who will pay $3,200 in membership dues
Forecast $6,250 in monthly operating costs
Our operating costs increased in 2022 because we moved to a larger space after being displaced by the March 31st fire and due to growth (more writers = more supplies). Our projected increase in costs this year and next also reflect our decisions to hire our first part-time employee and expand our programs and events to better serve our writer members. And more paper. Watching freshly crafted stories spit out of our printer is a joyous thing!
As a nonprofit, fundraising is a regular part of our existence. There are many ways to help the LWR (see a few below) and we hope you’ll continue to support our efforts.
Thank you for being a part of our wild and mostly wonderful first three years!!
Meet a Board Member!
We’d love for you to get to know our nine talented and dedicated all-volunteer board members. In this Newsletter we’re shining the light on Fiona Young-Brown. We asked Fiona to share what she loves about the Lexington Writer’s Room and a book recommendation.
“I first heard about the Lexington Writers Room when it was getting ready to open and I saw a notice about an open house on Facebook. I liked the idea because I am a hermit. Working from home and not having children means my social life is quite limited. This seemed like a good opportunity to meet a few other people, and just to enjoy a change of scene during the work week. However, I was just prepping for major surgery, so it fell on the back burner. Then when I was ready to reenter the world, we went into lockdown for COVID. I reached out to Lisa and as soon as I was able, I joined, using the office space at Base 110 downtown. Two locations later, I’m still a member. I try to use the space a couple of times a week and it has become my productivity zone. I can come in and within an hour or so have a draft of an article that I’ve been procrastinating over for days at home.
When the opportunity to become a board member opened up, I jumped at it. I see it as a chance to give back to the wonderful community that has been created. We have grown so much in size, and I want to make sure members get the support they need, whether that be write-ins, a sense of belonging, mentorship, or just some fab art to enjoy while they’re dreaming up their next poem!
There are so many books I could recommend but I am making an effort to read more fiction. As a non-fiction writer, my reading pile is often linked to my current assignments. Over the last few years, I have become completely obsessed with anything by Icelandic author Audur Ava Olafsdottir and I will rave about her books to anyone who will listen. I first read a translation of The Greenhouse and was completely underwhelmed. But then, this book just kept coming back to me. There was something about it that got into my head. My favorite of hers is Butterflies in November, although I reread all her books once a year now. I recently got her latest translated work to read and have even begun teaching myself Icelandic because I’m too impatient to wait for the English versions. Her books are very introspective, about a character learning about themselves through traveling to a new location. They are beautifully written and, as I said, they stick with me for ages after reading. And I will stop now before I keep going on about each one.”
We were delighted to learn about the Say It Loud: Black and Proud reading event and doubly so when we saw that the four amazing writers who will be reading their work are LWR members. We asked member Eugenia Johnson-Smith to tell us a bit more about this event from the Carnegie Center’s Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative.
We hope you’ll attend!
Say It Loud: Black and Proud
“The Carnegie Center’s Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative, KBWC, in partnership with WUKY Public Radio, will present Say It Loud: Black and Proud, Sunday, February 26, 2023, from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at Cafe Luigart, located at 110 Luigart Court in Lexington. The program will be recorded live and air at a later date.
The four featured KBWC members will read some of their writing and are all members of our Lexington Writer’s Room. They are Claudia Love Mair, the coordinator for the Carnegie Center's Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative, Venecia Proctor, Lisa Brown, and me, Eugenia Johnson-Smith. I am also a Carnegie Center and KBWC Ambassador. Music will be provided by Anonimuss Rose, a Neo-Sou Hip-Hop Artist.
This event will showcase the voices of the Kentucky Black Writers and bring attention to the Lexington Writer’s Room. The partnership between the KBWC and LWR will allow the public to see that the LWR members represent a diverse and inclusive group of writers dedicated to the success of its members’ writing goals.
We hope you can attend. Admission is pay what you can, $5 - $20. Dessert will be served.”
Check out what some of our members have been up to since the beginning of the year! We had so much news, we created a special update just for it. You can read it on our Substack blog here.
How You Can Support Us
It is remarkable to see how much our nonprofit is thriving. This would not be possible without your help and support. THANK YOU.
And…knock on wood…we’re happy to be in regular nonprofit operation mode. This is our normal state where we’ll need to raise funds through donations and grants (thanks to KY Arts Council, KY Humanities, and South Arts for previous grant funding) to cover about 50% of our costs, with the other 50% provided through our subsidized membership fees. Thank you for supporting our mission and we hope you’ll consider helping our organization in the future.
We go through A LOT of office supplies, drinks, and snacks. Printer paper, nutty snack packs, and Diet Coke is always on our shopping list!
You can help us restock our supply room and get set up for a successful 2023 by purchasing one of our Amazon wish list items or making a donation. See our Amazon Wish List here and learn more ways to support the Lexington Writer's Room on our website here. Thank you!
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Great newsletter! We're thriving!