Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On Writing Memberships

I've been a member of SCBWI for two years, I do believe. My membership expires tomorrow, and sadly, I'm not renewing it. It just comes at a bad time of the year, w/Christmas just around the corner. Are many of you members of SCBWI, or any other writing organization? And do you feel like you gain much from being a member? Just curious...

I definitely plan on rejoining at some point. I do feel like being able to put in my query letters that I am a member shows that I look at writing as a professional career, even though I'm not a professional writer (yet...okay, disclaimer: the dream that I'll someday be able to totally support myself through writing has waned throughout the years, but some days it still flickers into flame every now & then). 

But right now in my life, membership doesn't make much sense. With working full-time and the whole baby-sitting scrabble, I can't go to many of the events. I have done two Indiana SCBWI conferences that I quite enjoyed, and were only about an hour and a half away. But next year's conference is gonna be a biggie w/several surrounding states involved. It'll be held in Chicago, and w/parenting responsibilities, I just can't go. 

And honestly, I have no desire to be in a big city all by myself. It's hard enough to push myself to be sociable w/strangers when it's in my own state and a hundred people or so. Totally not happening when it's thousands! And I imagine that many ppl go w/buddies, and can you imagine trying to 'break the ice' w/a group of unfamiliar eyes looking at you? Brrr! No, thanks! 

Wow, I am sounding like quite the unsocial butterfly in the post, lol! I am a sociable person, but do better when it's people I already know and in a smaller setting. Then I'll talk your ear off. But back on track: I've gone to two in-state conferences, a critique meeting, and a luncheon. I enjoyed them all, and do still interact online w/some of the people I've met there. So my two-year membership stint did pay off. 

I will say that I wish I could go to one last event, which is a holiday party in Indianapolis. I secretly long to dress up and go out w/the hubby to eat hors d'oeuvres and feel like those people that you see in the holiday commercials, laughing and sparkly w/big fat flakes of snow spiraling down. But...my husband is even less socially-inclined than I am, and would rather eat nails than go smooze w/people he doesn't know. 

So I guess I'll just wait for our anniversary next month when we'll probably go to our local Applebee's. I can laugh and sparkle there too, I guess. Or wear a comfy hoodie and boots. Whichever! 

Oh! And one final thing...I won PiBoIdMo! That's right. I now have 30 pic book ideas to pick and choose between, conglomerate ideas, or snigger over how awful of an idea that one is (or two- let's just hope it's not thirty...). I really enjoyed it and hope I've some future, completed PB manuscripts in there somewhere.  


25 comments:

  1. Congrats on winning PiBoIdMo ^_^ I love how that rolls off the tongue.

    I keep meaning to join SCBWI, but it's a financial stretch for me right now. I am hoping to, because I love attending writing events and all the ones I've been to have always been worth the investment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter. I've always wanted to ask an actual member if they felt it was worth while.

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    1. I think it is, but like you, finances at the moment...And if you can find an active chapter, then it really is worth the investment! And thanks!

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  2. One great thing about SCBWI is that they let you re-join at the renewal price any time after you let your membership lapse. I never seem to have enough money at the one year mark, but they never have a problem when I join up again a few months later, and most of their online content has remained available as well during that time. (Note: I haven't checked on this lately, but it was like that a couple years ago.) They're really a great organization, especially, as you said, if you live near an active chapter!
    Congrats on PiBoIdMo! :) That's a great accomplishment!

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  3. I've never joined - for many of the reasons you mentioned. It's expensive and the events are so far away that it's impossible if you have kids. I didn't feel the lack when I was querying - I felt like agents requested based on the book, not the bio paragraph.

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    1. Yeah, especially for the three-day conferences, I feel like it's so long to be away. Two is more my style. And that's good to know!

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  4. Congrats on winning PiBoIdMo! I'm sure that will keep you busy and pay dividends in the future. Don't sweat the membership. Many new mothers feel the same way. If you want to attend a conference, you're probably better off with a local one where you can be away for just the day. You can always rejoin when it's more convenient.

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    1. Thanks! And I do like the one-days SO much better.

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  5. I hear you, Leandra. If you're near an active chapter I think it's a great benefit. I used to be in Western WA and paid separate dues ($28) for our local chapter. Best value for the money. I'm not sure of the benefits at the national level, because like you, I have no desire to go to the biggies either. I applied for the grants every year, but now it is just an award. I still like being part of SCBWI because it's the only kid-lit organization around and I love the blueboard community to talk shop and trade information. Oh, remember, you don't have to be a member of SCBWI to belong to the Blueboards (the open boards are the best anyway).

    By the way, if you write an article for the Bulletin, you used to get one year's free membership. That's something to think about!

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    1. Well that's neat, I didn't know that! And yes, the Blueboards are a great place, though I've not frequented them as much lately. =/

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  6. And Congrats on all the PBs you wrote!!!! I hope some of them will turn into books.

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  7. I maintained my RWA membership for about six years after I stopped needing it because I think they charge a $10 fee to reinstate it? Mostly I didn't want to lose my "charter member" status in my local chapter since I was a founding member. I assume I'm still one of the founders, even though I'm no longer a member. Anyway, that's money I can't get back! As for SCBWI, all I really use it for is the annual conference. Do they even do a magazine anymore? They don't send it by email if they do--and I forget to log into the site and check for one!

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    1. They do have a magazine, I get it in the mail...oh, every couple of months, maybe? Quarterly? And that's neat you're a founding member. RWA was one of them I was thinking about when I mentioned organizations, but I couldn't remember the acronym! :)

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  8. First, Congratulations on the PB ideas! Such an accomplishment! I think you have to do what is right for you and your career should not suffer one little bit.
    I've been a member of SCBWI for years and have gone to conferences, but not as much now. In the beginning I learned so much from them and the conferences helped me understand the business and how it worked. I had joined the "blue boards" also because of the warm, friendly, helpful community and still love it. SCBWI has taken them over but it still remains the same wonderful community and non-members of SCBWI can still be a part of the blue boards and it's free to join.

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    1. I know, I've only been to two writing conferences, but I will admit, b/c I'm always online looking at writing websites and the like, that much of what is said there, I'm already familiar with. Not all, of course! But some. =)

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  9. Very cool!
    Another author friend who is a member also said he wouldn't be renewing because if he couldn't make it to the events, it wasn't worth it. I finally qualified this year but hesitated to join, and now I'm glad I did.

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  10. Yay! Congrats on PiBoIdMo (woo that was a tough one to say)! :)

    I was an SCBWI member in 2014 after hearing about all the great benefits. Sadly, I didn't attend any of the events because the anxiety of going (all by myself) outweighed my excitement. It was fairly pricey for me (I believe around $100/year), and coupled with other expenses, and my lack of enthusiasm, I decided it wasn't for me. From a learning perspective, I do follow Writer's Digest and get their magazine (in terms of writerly subscriptions). :)

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    1. Writer's Digest is great, I really like getting emails from them, especially Chuck Sambuccino's...Totally murdered the spelling there, I'm sure. =)

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  11. Congrats on all your new picture book ideas! I let my SCBWI membership lapse for several years and then eventually returned. You can still attend many of the events without being a member (at a slightly higher price). So long as you check in on the website and blueboards, I don't think you'll miss anything important. I hope you'll have a sparkling anniversary night out next month!

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    1. You know that's true, I'd forgotten that you could still attend, just at that higher price. Thanks, Marcia! And thanks for the anniversary wishes, already looking forward to what I'm gonna order. Foodie here! =)

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  12. Yay for PiBoIdMo! I look forward to when you're producing these picture books.

    I tend not to attend events, so I totally see where you're coming from. Being a parent tends to put a different perspective on many writing events. :)

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  13. I joined SCBWI a few years back and didn't renew my membership. Didn't feel for me that it was worth the money, honestly. There are so many free, wonderful online writing communities/resources out there already (the Blue Boards being one of them). I'm also not near an active chapter, and I'm not big on conferences, so really didn't see any advantages of staying on as a member -- I'm with you on doing better with people you know in smaller gatherings. And, congratulations on winning PiBoIdMo! That's awesome! Yay! :)

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  14. I have been a member of SCBWI for a long time and attend the Carolinas' conference every year. It is a great organization for making connections with other writers, but I can definitely understand the "cost vs. benefits" issue. I dream of attending one of the "big" conferences one day (IF I can convince a friend to attend with me), but I am at heart an introvert as well and haven't made it to one yet. I guess I should think about the "cost vs. benefits" issue, too! = )

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