Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Monday, July 28, 2008

To Join or Not to Join

Lately I've been thinking about joining a writers' association. There are several lovely ones I could shell out money to become one with, but a couple of issues present themselves every time I think about joining.

The reason I've been thinking about becoming a member of some association somewhere is strictly because it looks good. Sure, I'll be able to use some (yes, only some... see below) of the bennys associated with whatever one I pick, but for the most part, it's the opportunity to put "I'm a member of X" on my query letters.

As for the issues...

I live in the middle of nowhere. The RWA chapters in my state are all at least a two-hour drive away, and driving two hours to attend a one hour meeting seems a little much. Then if they have a bigger event, it will mean a hotel stay and all the junk that goes with traveling out of town. Not my cup of tea. I know a lot of the networking can be done via e-mail, but the whole point of joining an organization is to participate, and the distance constraints really don't allow for that part of the experience.

Which leads me to another issue. I'm not a joiner. Never have been. I don't do well with the whole group participation thingie. I do better as an individual. So, I'm not sure how being a member of an organization is going to be a good thing for either me or the organization. Yeah, I'd love to have some fellow writers to hang out with - in person for a change - but every time I gotten together with a large group of writers online it hasn't gone well. Sooner or later, I piss someone off, or they piss me off, and it all falls apart. (This is one of the reasons I like the blogging community. We're all out there being individuals, and if one person doesn't get along with another, no one is going to shun you from the blogosphere.)

Lastly, the issue of which organization to actually join comes into play. You wouldn't think so, but this is a big one. You see, I don't think I fit into a group like RWA, because what I write isn't strictly romance. The same goes for ITW (International Thriller Writers). I write books - all of which have some kind of romantic element so far, and all of which have some kind of suspense element. None of them are strictly one or the other. I could shell out $200 and join both, but that just leads me back to the other two issues. And I'd still wonder whether being a member of either was just plain fraud. You know, being a non-romance writer and a member of RWA would just make me feel like I was taking up space a real romance writer could use. I'm sure they don't care, but that's not the point. I care.

Anyway, enough about me and my issues. Are you a member of a writing organization? How's that working out for you? Any suggestions on what I could do to get over this set of issues?

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