Saturday, June 30, 2007

Groups, Associations, Unions

It's been a few days, I know. I watch my site stats and think "I'm sorry I had nothing here for you when you stopped by!! Ack! It's like asking someone to come over and then saying - sorry, it's a bad time, I have no coffee on."

I turned 30 last weekend. I don't think I really get it yet. I'm 30! Woot!

Yeah... it's no different from the weekend before. Same book, different pile. (See, only writers will get that reference.)

I'm wondering these days about online writer's groups and associations. I'm a member of many groups and two associations. I'm considering letting my association memberships lapse because if I'm being honest, I don't really get a lot out of them that my groups don't provide.

What often happens is you end up surrounded by people who have paid a membership and expect things. And they complain when things don't come to them. Such is the nature of a membership-based organization. 10% of the people will be in full complaining mode, 10% will be actively running the association and on the board and 80% are apathetic but being tugged on by the two smaller segments.

It's tiring to be in associations, and I'm an extrovert. I've also been in all three groups above. If I'm a complainer, my feedback is "then do something about it and volunteer". If I volunteer the feedback is "you are trying to tell me how to do my job" or "you aren't doing enough". If I am in the apathetic group I'm told "you aren't qualified to complain because you don't volunteer" or "you've got your head in the sand and you need to see that the board is screwing up".

Tiring I tell ya!

Recently I thought about joining another association, a union. It's a fledgling one, about 350 to 400 members. I joined their listserv and listened in for a while to see if I could get an idea of what their flavor was.

Sour grapes with a touch of bitterness. That was their flavor.

As with almost every union I've ever come into contact with, it was "us against them and them" meaning the union against "the man" as well as "any non-union worker". Except I'm a non-union worker and I didn't like how I was being categorized. So no, I didn't send my dues in and I didn't join. They may have a future, they may not. But I don't really want to be associated with them at this time.

There is one group that I'll gladly pay my membership fee to again next year, Freelance Success. This isn't a group for newbies and I don't think they suffer fools, so you should have your books in a pile before you join. But you can get a free week's access if you go over to their site.

Currently I'm doing a Query Challenge and I'm enjoying it. The beginning of the week was a big hectic. Kindergarten ended, I had a trip to the ER to recover from... but I'm up to five queries. And I have to tell you, that's more than I've done in the last three months.

I got one tentative acceptance to a new market already!

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