What my writing family means to me

18 Oct

Like any person who immerses themselves in an affiliation, sport, hobby or cause, the friends and associates I’ve made in my pursuit of a writing career are both dear and essential to me.

In the twelve years I spent as an unpublished writer, I made many friends and contacts through my affiliation with the Romance Writers of America, I have always understood just how special these friendships are, and considered myself lucky that I discovered a calling that is both satisfying and socially engaging. That’s me looking like a sexy librarian on a typical writing day. (Just kidding.)

Last week I was reminded just how crucial these associations are. Having been a published author since 2008, I now have relationships with publishing professionals, including, most importantly, the editors who work with me on my books. But like many authors, I also have a full-time job. As an executive admin I am a rare survivor in a downturned economy that has sacrificed many support positions like mine. About a week ago on Tuesday morning, one person after another was called to the HR office and then escorted from the building. Apparently we are having a RIF or a reorg or something with a new name some PC analyst will come up with to make being sacked sound less tragic than it really is.

Needless to say, the atmosphere here was tense. With nervous stomach I sat at my desk, (after dumping what few personal possessions I keep here into a plastic bag) and tried to busy myself with something to keep my mind off my impending doom. I opened my email and found a message from one of my editors.

The note was a response to a question I’d posed about career direction, and the wants of this particular publisher. The message wasn’t unusual, but it came at a time I desperately needed a lift. In addition to the text in the message, this email said to me “you are part of a team where your work is valued and we want to see more from you.” Suddenly the threat of a layoff was slightly less painful. I didn’t get laid off (so far) but I am still feeling reinforced by that email.

Why am I writing about this today? Two reasons. One, because I like to talk about my affiliation with RWA whenever I can. It was by a fluke fourteen years ago I read an author’s thank you to RWA in the foreword of her romance novel, felt intrigued, and decided to investigate the organization. In return, for every aspiring writer I can steer toward RWA, I earn a cosmic point. Two, because I want to thank all my readers, friends and associates for how fulfilled they have made me feel. I appreciate you!

4 Responses to “What my writing family means to me”

  1. Yelle Hughes (@YelleHughes) October 18, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Crystal, thank you so much for writing this article. Although I have been unemployed since 2009, reading articles such as this helps me in my determination to continue on the path of being a published author.

    I would like to establish new relationships with editors and those of RWA. Thanks to my family for helping support me in this, I am able to pursue my dream.

    In reading this, gives me the courage to keep going.

  2. Crystal Kauffman October 18, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    I’m so glad to have inspired you. In the end, all we have are our dreams, but they are the most important thing. Wishing you the best of luck with your employment! I know things are going to get better.

  3. Erica Anderson October 18, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Hope everything works out for you, Crystal. You’re so right that in the kind of solitary profession we’re in, it’s extra meaningful to get those emails and votes of confidence. I don’t think I’m being too biased when I say that the romance community is the best!

  4. Kaily Hart October 18, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I couldn’t agree more, Crystal! Even though I haven’t been writing anywhere near as long as you, I find every single friend and contact I make in this industry special. Writers really are a very nurturing bunch and I’m always overwhelmed by our generous they can be. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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