This past week, a member of our local chapter of RWA decided not to join the national organization this year which of course means she can't belong to our local group, CPRW. It was kind of sad but also completely understandable. Marie contributed a lot to our group and was supportive to all of us. But there were economic factors to be considered.
Belonging to RWA isn't cheap. Marie has her first YA novel coming out in the near future so she wasn't really a romance writer. At some point she weighed her options and decided she could better spend that big chunk of dues money elsewhere. How many more of us will be making such tough decisions in the future?
I admit to considering it. Though I have three romance novels published with New Concepts Publishing, one contracted with them and another contracted with TWRP, I'm concentrating on my fantasy writing. Would I miss whatever I get from RWA if I left? I'm not sure but I don't think I would. Would I miss what I get from CPRW? Absolutely. Unconditional support, a fount of wisdom from fellow writers, and the companionship of those who know what being a writer is.
I also belong to Pennwriters and have found support there not only in the yearly conferences but in other functions as well as their member loop. In Pennwriters I also have a chance to spend time with other fantasy authors. Recently I joined with some other local Pennwriters in forming a group blog, The Susquehanna Writers, and planning some group book signings. And Pennwriters is cheap compared to RWA.
So yes, I've been tempted to leave RWA like my friend Marie but I can't give up CPRW. Yet. I could change my mind in the future but for now I'll stay. The same issues causing controversy with Romance Writers of America plagues many writers groups. What to do with digital publishing? Where is the line between published and not? Is the group meeting the needs of all their members?
I write because I enjoy it and of course I hope to be wildly successful someday. My day job has lots of issues, stresses, politics and frustrations. I don't need that same kind of thing in my writing career. I've avoided posting about the discussions on RWA and really have followed it as little as possible. I don't have the time or the interest. I never get involved in the contentious discussions that come up on Pennwriters every few months about epublishing versus traditional, agent versus unagented and all the things that go around over and over again. I don't even read the posts when the arguments start.
I want to be a writer. I want to smooze with other writers. I want to help my colleagues if I can and know I can go to them for help. Mostly I just want to write the best book I can write.