Friday, February 24, 2006

Daily Forecast

As I write this, I’m in my office, picking at my lunch. Being a planner, yes, I write my blog the day before in case I get an attack of the “what the heck am I going to write about?” blues. At work, I’m squirreled away in a restricted area so there are no windows or signs of life other than engineers traipsing in and out of my bay. People keep coming in and saying what a beautiful day it is outside. I have no clue. I’m sheltered from everything in here, just off in my own world. Being in Alabama, half the time I walk outside at the end of the day completely shocked that it is torrentially raining. True to my absent-minded professor nature, I, of course, have no umbrella or coat, plus I’m parked in the back forty. My Smarty Pants are often rain soaked by the time I get to my car.

Having been a solitary writer for several years, I liken this to me joining RWA. I’ve piddled at my computer writing this or that for a while. I stumbled my way onto the eHarlequin boards when I was seeking out information on submission guidelines. I started posting on a few boards and the more active I became, the more prepared I felt. More like a real member of the writing community. I finally decided that I’d cough up the bucks to join RWA, then my local RWA chapter.

Then my whole world changed! I walked outside and realized it was raining. Not in a bad sense, but in the sense that I was finally aware of what was going on. All the time I was just doing my own thing, I was completely unaware of everything that was happening in the writing community. Joining the organization gave me not only companionship and support, but I was finally in the “KNOW.”

I know what’s going on in terms of guidelines, line changes and cancellations, who’s acquiring and who isn’t, contests, editor and agent names…stuff that I just wouldn’t know otherwise. I could still be sitting at my desk pecking away at my doomed Flipside manuscript if I hadn’t walked outside to check the weather. Instead, I knew the line was discontinued and decided to focus on my paranormal, which is very hot right now.

I’m not trying to endorse any specific organization (unless they’re cutting a check) but really the concept and benefits of the organization itself. Mystery writers have a similar group, I’m told, as do other genres. In my day job, I’m a member of a HR society that holds conferences and training as well.

In a profession that can be isolating if you want it to be, I think this is a great support system on so many different fronts. So, if you are a member of a professional organization – what is the best thing you get out of it? If you’re not a member – what keeps you from joining and where do you get your info?



Angel said...

I agree, SP! Joining RWA has been a huge eye-opening experience for me. As with many other writing (and non-writing, I'm sure) organizations, the mix of experienced, pursuing, and inexperienced provides a wealth of information, encouragement, and camaraderie that would take years to build otherwise. Instead of searching for a needle in a haystack, most information is available with just an email or phone call. Or I can ask questions at a meeting or conference.

To me, it's worth every penny.


Problem Child said...

I got you guys, of course. And the SQUEEE!

The info is important, but I love the community. The support is amazing. Having people you admire as writers cheering you on is often enough to get me to my computer. It makes me want to live up to the confidence they have in me.


(And Angel, this is for you: SQUEEE. You know why :-))

Anonymous said...

I'll SQUEE-cond that!

(I must warn you guys that you have created a monster! It's like the ladies who try to put cheerleader Mom maracas in my hands at competitions. The music, a satisfying day long mix of Nelly and Gwen Stafani, plays on the loud speakers and there I squirm jamming with my maracas in what some would term embarassing display. Once the maracas are in your hands, you cannot withhold the rhythm inside. The same can be said of the SQUEE.)