We've talked about writing organizations before. We'll probably talk about them again. This week's episode featured a new group coming to Colorado: the UAA. While I haven't decided if I'm going to join them as a member, I plan on supporting them and pointing people their way. The fact that they help promote literacy is a big deal to me, and they put together membership requirements that encourage the building of a community.
I've gotten a lot out of my membership with other writing groups, and I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had to give back. This podcast has a growing audience with wide interests, and being able to bring writers on who've helped me in the past is a nice benefit of co-hosting the show. It may not be much, but it's what I can offer the community that I'm a part of.
Like I said, I don't know if I'm going to sign up for the UAA. I'm undecided about renewing my membership with RMFW, too. There are many organizations I want to join, but depending on the nature of the group, there's only so much I can offer.
You see, a community is only a community if the people involved work together. Getting one "leader" and a bunch of "takers" isn't a community, it's a service. Writing organizations shouldn't be a service. The ones that are really need to charge more to their members. I take this seriously, and while paying my dues and showing up to events is "allowed," I want to give more. Many of the writers I interact with are becoming my friends. Some of them are ALREADY my friends. New members are joining these groups every year, too. And I want to be able to help them as much as I've been helped.
Contributions to the community, on any level, will help it grow. And as the year winds to a close in the next four months, I plan on trying to figure out how I can contribute. Right now, that means working with writers through this podcast and blog. In the future, it may be something different. I'm not going to be a taker. I'll accept help and take advantage of opportunities to grow, but I want to give back.
Thinking back, episodes like this week's and our discussion of the Kindle Scout user agreement with Susan Spann are the reason I want to do this podcast. We get to put new information out there for listeners who may be looking into these programs. Some of them (like the UAA) are simply awesome. Others (like Kindle Scout) require more information to make an educated decision. And getting that information out to people who may not have any other place to turn is something that I'm passionate about. Because that builds community and gives organizations like the UAA and RMFW somewhere to point their members when they have questions.