Friday, February 24, 2006
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?
Posted by Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants at 2/24/2006 12:04:00 AM