Last night I was HONOURED to receive the Romance Writers of Australia’s Lynne Wilding Award for Meritorious Service.
While I have to admit to being a bit bummed that we weren’t all together for the awards, it’s probably a good thing as who knows what babble might have spilled from my lips! Knowing the other nominees, I certainly did not think I would win, I did not give any thought to what I might say if I did win and I probably would have had a drink or two (or maybe three or four) by the time the announcement rolled around. So, it’s probably a good thing that I’ve had time to sleep on my ‘acceptance speech,’ so to speak.
But, I do want to say something. I promise I won’t take too much of your time.
I want to start by acknowledging the other finalists. I KNOW how hard all of the nominees have worked, or are working, for our organisation, squeezing time from all of their other commitments, and I want them to know that their contribution is seen and APPRECIATED.
Our organisation is a membership driven organisation. We have one part time paid employee, and we aren’t rolling in dough. We can ONLY continue to grow and thrive if our members step up to the plate. And there are plenty of opportunities for members to do that.
So, if you are already volunteering in some way, shape, or form, THANK YOU. And I see you.
If you aren’t, why not?
I completely get that we’re all busy. I care for my Mum (my Dad passed away last year). I work full time (sometimes more than full time). I have family commitments, friend commitments, wanting to curl up and introvert commitments. I eek out time to write (and, frankly, lately, it’s not been a lot). But I also take time in my schedule to volunteer.
I’ve volunteered at conferences to help with newbies, I’ve introduced presenters, read from the slush pile and organised and manned the pitch desk (with a friend!). I’ve judged contest entries, I’ve coordinated contests, I’ve taken on the judge coordinator role, and now I’ve put my hand up for committee.
I volunteer because I think it’s IMPORTANT. And because if I don’t, who will? I mean, I can’t expect everyone else to carry the load just so that I can enjoy all the fun.
And so, I’m putting out a call to arms.
If you’ve got other stuff going on in your life, I get it, I really do. But if you truly think RWA is valuable (and I’m assuming you do if you’re a member) there’s always SOMETHING you can do. It doesn’t have to be massive.
Start by putting your hand up to judge a comp (yeah, I know, this one’s near and dear to my heart -we’re always looking for judges). All you have to do is read some great stories and give some KIND feedback. Some of our comp entries are really short. And you don’t have to read hundreds. Two, or three or four will do. A couple of hours of your time.
If you can commit a bit more time, think about Committee, or some of the other volunteer roles that are going around online at the moment. If you don’t know what’s up, contact me, or anyone on the Committee and ask. We might sometimes be slow at coming back to you because… you know… life, but we will.
And, when conference rolls around again, think about putting your hand up to help there too.
Because RWA doesn’t work unless you do.
And I really want RWA to work.