At the writer’s conference I attended, one of the agents mentioned that belonging to a professional writing organization was a sign to her that you were committed to the craft. Here’s a list of five professional organizations.
American Independent Writers. They used to be called Washington Independent Writers, the largest regional writing organization in the U.S. In the last few years, they went national. Their primary focus is non-fiction and freelancing. They have workshops in the DC area.
International Thriller Writers. ITW was formed not too long ago for writers of thriller who didn’t really fit in with mystery. They usually get left off writing organization lists. Their conference is in New York every year, but it’s extremely expensive.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers. This is one of the few professional sites with a huge amount of information on writing in the genre.
Society of Chldren’s Book Writers and Illustrators. My aunt was president of one of the local chapters in California, so I get to put in a good word. At one point, I was a member–they had local chapters that met and had workshops.
Military Writers of America. Okay, okay, I’m partial to military.
Do research the organization before joining. With a regional one I looked at, they’d been around for 88 years. So I’m thinking that was pretty good, and I asked about membership in an email. Then I happened to looked at the published members part of the site–all but one of the members were self-published through a company that has a very bad reputation. Worse! As I continued to look, those same self-published writers were giving the workshops on how to get published.