Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Out of Touch

A couple of people have e-mailed asking about the point of the PAN post. It was pointless fun, but then, so is the subject matter.

I left RWA the same year they made Eloisa James the PAN liasion, This was before she came out of the closet; no, I didn't know her, and God, am I psychic? It was campaign time back then, and the gals running for office were talking about starting PRO, revitalizing the Grow the Market campaign, redoing the new PAN members handbook, providing financial advisors, and getting the established authors to mentor the newbies.

I'm sure many things have changed in the years since. Everyone has mentors now, yes? And the tax help? And PRO wasn't just a sop rag to shut up the e-book authors, right?

11 comments:

  1. zornhau9:05 AM

    I don't mean to go all Ayn Rand, but the organisation you describe sounds awfully collectivist.

    Mentoring from a pro is a lucky break, not a right.

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  2. I've been a member of RWA and a Go-It-Aloner and of the two, I prefer the GIA. Some of your recent posts woke me up and now I realize that. So thanks. Of course, I didn't "wake up" until after I'd paid for my conference this year!

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  3. zornhau: If one is paying money to an organization whose stated purpose is to help writers, then it's not unreasonable to expect the organization to actually do what it promises.

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  4. One of the last columns I read in the RWA magazine outlined several benefits of PAN, what they were doing to help the careers of published authors, etc. One of those was to start a contest for RWA chapter Websites. I think that was a defining moment for me as to my career priorities differing from what the organization holds important.

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  5. zornhau11:09 AM

    Katherine - I don't know the full context, so what follows is a gut response only:

    I can imagine paying money to an organisation to help me as a writer - mutual self help - but not to help others become writers.

    I certainly hope I can one day emulate the pro in our group, who does mentor informally. However, it seems odd to do this through an institution.

    There are enough competing writers as it is. Why would it be in my support a factory for creating more of them? Just don't get it.

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  6. zornhau said: There are enough competing writers as it is. Why would it be in my support a factory for creating more of them?

    I can think of several reasons.

    One--because you can't write their stories.

    Two--because selfishness makes the world a poorer place, so generosity in helping others makes it better.

    Three--because I want to read stories by lots of people, not just you.

    Sorry if I sound snarky, but you hit a hot button of mine. I believe there's plenty of room in this world for anyone who wants to tell their story. If they can tell it well enough to be published, it's good for everyone. If not, they've gotten something out of writing it, which is a good thing in your personal life. I don't think that other people writing takes away from my opportunities because they're not writing my stories. If mine are good enough, they'll sell, too. :)

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  7. Blogging makes PAN and PRO less relevant. Hey the organizations are supposed to help writers..... connect with more experienced writers, find out what's good and bad in contracts, search for an agent, get gossip, get snarky.

    And for all that "Why Do I Wanna help the competition thing" PBW, you do that with a bunch of your posts and links.

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  8. PS
    I think PRO is actually turning into a good organization. I got booted out about a year ago, but the writers in charge are motivated and work hard to get accurate and up-to-date info to its members.

    PAN hasn't been as useful...but I did get free wine at the one meeting I attended.

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  9. Kate: Free wine at PAN meetings -- now there's something that would have made my head explode.

    Zornhau: I'm not a fan of writer organizations, but I love people who write. I don't think there's any kind of factory that could produce us. The fact that there are so many writers out there, doing exactly what I did/am doing is a comfort to me, too. I spent too many years doing this alone.

    As for the competition, look at it this way: there are a lot of people out there in love with the idea of being a writer, but who eventually discover they're not up to the reality. It's no different than when I found out I wasn't meant to be a doctor (1983) or an artist (1979). During both pursuits, I was always writing, and the writing never went away. It won't go away. Sometimes you have to take a couple of wrong turns to discover what you're really supposed to be doing.

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  10. I'm a pro and to be honest, I don't get much out of it. I'm not even sure why I stay on the lists, since most of them get auto-deleted anyway. =\

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  11. zornhau4:33 AM

    Just to clarify: I didn't mean to imply that one shouldn't help people become writers, just that institutionalising this seemed wrong since some barriers to entry are a kindness, given the stiff nature of the competition.

    PBW's web presence is a good example of good ways of helping other writers and wannabes like myself - my current approach to writing owes much to her contributions on the old Forward Motion boards.

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