SFWA: To be or not to be

Lisa Mantchev, who I adore, posted this on her blog in regard to the vice President of SFWA’s recent action

I want to know what it’s going to take to organize a new Genre Writers’ Guild.

One that promotes the work of the up-and-coming writer as well as the old guard.

One that recognizes the power of teh internetz as a promotional tool, and is open to new formats–including, but not limited to–CCL.

One that fosters and encourages creativity and speculation and all of the things that fantasy and science fiction stands for.

What does it take? Where do I sign up? Let’s cease trying to fix something that is broken–at least, by MY definition of the word, because it is no longer serving/meeting MY needs as a writer.

Make a list, people. Let’s get this ball rolling.

In comments, I posted this response.:

I have to say that I think this is not a good idea.

They have screwed up royally, but the organization already has name recognition and relationships with publishers. Do you know how long it will take to wrest power away to an upstart organization? Years. Meanwhile, what we would then have is yet another schism which would weaken the power of both groups. And then, in ten years, when you have established a reputation and are making a difference, some group of misfits will be elected and screw things up. Thank you, I’ve seen this done with other groups. It makes you feel good now…

Or, you can put all of this energy into getting a really vibrant group of people to run for SFWA next year. Start campaigning now.

You don’t like the way the organization is being run? You’ll note that these candidates ran uncontested until the last possible moment. I personally didn’t notice anyone trying to fix something that was broken. I just see people complaining about it.

I’m planning on running for office.

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16 Responses

  1. Peterbilt_47

    Hear, hear.

    I’ve been through that sort of thing with so many kinds of relatinships myself. You have to think very clearly about the costs of staying vs. the cost of taking your ball and bat and going home. There will always be something to be unhappy about. Sometimes you’ve got to stay and fix it.

    OK, I just basically repeated you. But uh, well said. Good luck and godspeed.

  2. David de Beer

    >but the organization already has name recognition and relationships with publishers. Do you know how long it will take to wrest power away to an upstart organization? Years. Meanwhile, what we would then have is yet another schism which would weaken the power of both groups

    unfortunately, although I have said otherwise on Lisa’s blog, this is the truth. I suppose there is no perfect group/ organization, in the end, only what’s being done with the one established.

    And good for you, Mary, I hope you carry this plan through. And hey, if I was a member, I’d vote for you *smile*.
    Because, yes, in the end above and beyond personal likes, I do think you have the capability to do a good job.

  3. Mary Robinette Kowal

    Peterbilt: Thank you. It’s nice to know that someone else has the same thoughts, so I don’t feel completely insane.

    David: You can always get tagged to work on sub-committees without being a voting member. Careful…

    Alex: Sell! Sell! Elections aren’t until next summer.

  4. Peterbilt_47

    Thanks, Mary. For my part, I’ve usually elected to take my ball and bat. Sometimes when the dust settles, I’ve felt that was a good decision. Other times, it’s taught me that bringing what you stand for into a relationship makes it better. This sounds to me like one of those cases.

    I’m very interested in where this story goes now.

  5. Lisa Mantchev

    Hey Mary, I’m linking to this response in commentary on the original post. I hope we can get people talking about all the possibilities and then get some action going in a positive direction.

    *salute*

    AND the adoration is mutual. 😉

  6. Mary Robinette Kowal

    Exactly! Dialogue is the first step. But not too much dialogue, because then we’ll wind up with one of those clunky exposition scenes where nothing happens. Action!

    I think deciding what we want to change is the first step. Then decide how to provoke those changes.

  7. Maggie

    Run for a good one ;).

    Actually, you just voiced what I’d been thinking about today. Instead of blogging I’ll just link you :).

  8. Tempest

    I think I might qualify for SFWA, but I may be one shy. At any rate, I will consider joining *just* so I can vote for you. But you gotta promise me you’ll win.

  9. David de Beer

    >You can always get tagged to work on sub-committees without being a voting member. Careful…

    haha! thanks, Mary, but I am one of those people who’s always arguing with the boss, so you could end up regretting a decision like that!

  10. Mary Robinette Kowal

    You folks crack me up.

    My first step, and one I encourage active members to do, is to become more involved on the SFWA boards. While we have a lively discussions on LJ, that’s not where the established members of SFWA go.

    People tend to believe that others around them have the same beliefs. If you want to shift the beliefs of a community, then you need to present alternative views in a non-combative fashion. Presenting them in a combative fashion will make people dig in and get defensive. C’mon, be honest, you do the same thing too, right? But peer pressure… now that’s a different animal.

    My second step will be to volunteer for the current administration for the projects that I am interested in. Will they take me on? Who knows.

    Do I have time for this? Absolutely not, but I can’t complain if I don’t first make the effort to change things.