Friday, August 04, 2006

To re-up, or not to re-up (conclusion)

I don't mean to be unduly down on SFWA. The organization is of little use to me now, but 20-some years ago, when I was first starting out and eager to make contacts, joining SFWA was a very useful way to network with other writers.

It's just that since then, I've come to realize that in my particular case, what I do is far more important than who I know. This is not true for everyone. Some writers are *happy* to schmooze, smooch tuchus, and chase after theme anthology slots and Star Trek book contracts. Some don't mind spending their creative lives spinning out variations on someone else's themes.

Not me. I'm lucky, in that I have Other Things I can do to make a living. I don't need to write fiction to pay the bills.

But in any case, one strong point in SFWA's favor is that it is not the National Writer's Union ( I may make snide comments from time to time about SFWA's collective devotion to political correctness, but at least they avoid the "look for the Union label" solidarity forever idiocy of the NWU. (UAW Local 1981, a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO!) A quick look through the NWU website reveals—

Well, you can find out for yourself. If you really want to go there.

In large part I attribute SFWA's relative effectiveness to the fact that, like the Screenwriter's Guild, most of the members are (or were, within living memory) actual professionally published writers working within the genre. This has changed somewhat in recent years, but to pursue this line of thought further would be to violate my "No gossip" rule, so I'll just point out by way of contrast that the qualifications for joining the NWU are essentially a willingness to cough up the annual dues.

But on the other hand, if you live in a certain lucky few states and have absolutely no possible other way in the world of getting health insurance...