Officers who volunteer for writer’s organizations usually do a ton of work. They plan regular and annual meetings, write, edit, and produce bulletins, newsletters, and journals, organize and coordinate contests, maintain websites, attend Board meetings and make policy changes, record Board meeting minutes, maintain membership databases, manage the treasury, file tax returns, hold Board elections, field members’ suggestions and complaints, do fundraising, apply for grants, publicize to recruit new members, and perform a host of other duties.
Often, it becomes a second job or it takes away from time that one could be spending on a writing project, submitting work to publications, or from leisure and family activities.
For example, I have volunteered for over six years as an officer of The Haiku Society of America. I know the demands firsthand. And, although it’s a lot of work, I have benefitted, too, by meeting great writers who have given me inspiration and ideas, and I’ve made new friends. So, it’s not all sacrifice. I will be retiring my volunteer post as Second Vice President at the end of this year, and I must say it has been rewarding.
For every one person who complains to an officer about something, often beyond his/her control, there are about twenty people who call to support you. So, you learn to relish the positives, rather than a few of the negatives. It always helps, though, if a member goes out of his way to thank an officer of the writer’s organization.
I hope that officers don’t get burned out. I have not burned out, and I don’t like to see any officer who does, but sometimes it’s a reality. I think I didn’t burn out, because I always received some thank-yous when the workload really got heavy.
So give your favorite writer’s organization officer a hug! And, consider being on the other side of the fence and volunteering. It will be a learning experience in more ways than one.
Copyright 2015 by Charlotte Digregorio.