Saturday, April 10, 2010

Conflicts

This is not conflicts in the sense of writing but deals with myself and the writing world. Once I belonged to four professional writing groups. When the time to renew one of them arrived, I decided not to renew. The reason was that I had no personal connection to the other members of the organization. All was done through a newsletter and a promotional item. When the promotional way was closed to those who chose the publishing path I had entered, I felt there was nothing in it for me. Two of my professional groups I have no problem with renewal. In fact on both I usually renew early since I have that option. One group supports a genre among the number I write and even when I sell in another genre people are quite free with congratulations. I am able to take part in any of the promotional projects I care to and have done in a number. The second of my keepers deals with my particular publishing path. Support is freely given. I have learned more about the publishing world than from any group I've ever belonged to. I have made friends and acquaintances. Many among them have bought my books and I have bought theirs. One thing I like about this group is that all the members are published or connected to publishing in some manner. Another thing is that they are published in every genre you can think of including poetry and non-fiction as well as fiction. There are sometimes scraps and sometimes heated discussions but all settles down in the end. The only criteria to membership is that the author must be published on a certain path. Some are published on more than one publishing path. I am one of them.
Now I've come to the third group. I've belonged for a very long time and have gained some benefits, mostly friends. One problem I have is my chosen paths of writing. To be a member of this group one must be actively seeking a career in a single genre of writing. I am writing in a number of genres. Actually, I'm pursuing
a career in writing fiction with an occasional excursion into non-fiction. The particular publishing path I chose ten plus years ago was not recognized by this group. I could have left then but I would have missed the many friends I have made over the years. Now this path is recognized and the reason I see for the recognition bothers me but I won't get into that. What really troubles me is that some people who were violently opposed to this publishing path now think it's wonderful.
Now my conflict is one of personality. I am a Cancer with six planets in that sign and that makes me very much this kind of person. What this means is I hate to see things broken without trying to fix them. I like to hold onto things far beyond their use. I tend to mother people and this is sort of what I've done in the last of the professional groups I belong to. I have mentored a number of new writers who have gone on to become published. I enjoy doing this as much as I do writing and if anyone knows me, I am completely obsessed and in love with writing and reading. At this point I am still conflicted about paying a lot of money for a group that mainly offers me friendship and little support. I will probably stay another year unless I get tossed out on my ear.

9 comments:

Terri said...

We all hope you will remain an active member of HVRWA and RWA. Many of us have had ongoing problems with RWA at one time or another, when we didn't feel the organization was hearing us. It's an unwieldy organization, whose members are often at odds with each and whose interests from time to time diverge.
But your knowledge of the local chapter's history is without compare. We all have much to learn from you.
You have indeed been a patient and willing mentor for everyone who has ever sought your help and expertise over the years and you have been proud of each and every success story. Some successes have been huge. And yet, even those began at your dining table.
Why not stay and fight for what you want and what you believe in? RWA only changes when the voices of its members are vocal, or when the changes in the publishing industry are so clear that it has not choice but to follow suit. Remain outspoken. Other outspoken people will disagree. So what?
If you have no interest in writing romances at all, anymore, then I guess I can see how you might feel an organization "dedicated to advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy" is not in your best interests, anymore.
But I don't think you can ever really stop writing romances anymore than you can stop reading them.

Gina Rosavin said...

What Terri said. :)

Seriously though, I know how you feel, I certainly understand it, but you just can't leave RWA! If nothing else, WE need YOU! You've given me invaluable advice and support over the years, and you were the first person other than someone in the national office, that I spoke with about RWA. I'll never forget that, and without your guidance over the years, I wouldn't have made it as far as I did.

I know you did it for so many others, as well. So maybe the organization doesn't give back as much as it used to for you, but what you give to us is priceless, and hopefully, we can return some of that in our own way. But if you leave RWA, the rest of us all lose out. Big time.

I don't see any problem with staying. So what if you write other genres as well? No law says you can't write anything else just because you're an RWA member.

I just can't imagine you not being a part of RWA and HVRWA in particular. IMO, you're iconic to the chapter.

I'll say it again. We need you! And we want you to stay!

Carly Phillips said...

I agree with Terri. I wouldn't be published if not for you and RWA, and so I keep up my membership no matter my personal disagreements. At the heart of it all, RWA supports Romance and you are NEEDED and I hope you feel you get back what you've given over the years, if not from the organization anymore, then from the people. It's worth it for that alone, I think. Push your agenda. You have every right to have your feelings heard at RWA too. And I agree, you are a romance writer and reader at heart

Liz said...

You are NOT allowed to leave!

Seriously - thought - you're not

Kat Attalla said...

As one of those writers you have mentored over the years, I know I speak for HVRWA when I say your contribution to our group has been invaluable. So we will accept your word of staying one more year. That gives me 365 days to talk you into changing your mind and staying another 10 years. And I will be relentless. You know I can.

JL Walters said...

Terri, You mistook my writing intentions. Years ago, when I began writing, I thought I wanted to write everything. I have decided I will never write horror since I can't stand reading it. What I meant was I want always to be free to write the next thing that comes along. Right now I'm working on what could be considered three romances, a spicy contemporary that's getting an update, an alternate world fantasy and a fairy tale. The next one on the agenda is the final one of the Henge Betrayed series and that's YA.

Terri said...

My bad. You would think my reading comprehension would be better at this stage of the game.
In that case, all I can say is, horror's loss is HVRWA's gain.

Yo said...

Everyone has made great points about national vs local and your support and friendship to all of us is invaluable.

But, let us try to return the favor - I also think you need to tell the local group - what we can do to help meet your needs as well - i.e. you want to see news on x, y or whatever - so aside from the great friendships, at least you will find that the local group is being supportive of your endeavors by providing servies to help you further them. Since I think it should go without saying we're all rooting for each other.

Anonymous said...

During the 23 yrs of my membership in HVRWA you've been a mainstay of the group. We've counted on your knowledge, your willingness to listen, mentor, and share your experiences in life and in writing. I'm paid up in RWA only because of my connection to HVRWA and to you and other fellow members. So very selfishly I'd hate to lose you. You are needed.

Renee