First, if you write speculative fiction (so sci-fi, fantasy, and the like) and were interested in SFWA membership before but didn’t qualify, they recently changed their membership criteria.
To be an Associate member now only requires “Their catalog of paid work in science fiction, fantasy, or related genres equals or exceeds $100 USD.” To be a Full member is $1000.
If I read that right I went from not qualifying with either SFF pen name to qualifying with both multiple times over.
I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t want to be a member of any organization that will have me, but I went ahead and applied under the name that qualifies me for full membership.
I was very proud the first time I qualified for a writing organization. I even ponied up the money to go to the dinner where they read my name and gave me a little plaque. (It literally reads “Author”. It doesn’t even have the name of the organization on it, it just says my name, the year, and “Author”.)
I was a member for a few years, but not terribly active because one of the first things that happened was I joined the private FB group and the first post I saw was a suggestion of arranging review swaps on each others’ books.
So. Yeah. Not my scene.
We’ll see how this one goes. According to friends who have been members for a long time the mindset there has definitely shifted to be more self-pub inclusive and it seems more romance inclusive as well.
But I have a long memory and haven’t forgotten a few of the things I’ve seen over the years from senior members there related to self-pub, so while I did put in an application to join I won’t be diving in with both feet right away.
As for other thoughts or comments…
I try to remind myself it’s usually not about me even when it seems like it might be. So this is just a general reiteration of something I said in the very first book I ever published in 2013.
In that case, I was talking about men and their attitudes towards women. And I stated in that book that I won’t date a man who says things like, “Other women are such [insert negative description here], but not you.”
Or a man who calls women in general names. The b-word seems to be a common choice with that type.
And the reason is because I know that that guy who is being nice to me now will put me in that bucket later. We’ll break up and suddenly I too am a [insert your favorite negative word about women]. Or I’m that ex he rants about for being…whatever.
So I skip that whole thing by just not letting men like that into my life in the first place.
I’m the same way with anger. I don’t care if that anger is directed at the waitress or the airline or whoever. If a man I’m with goes completely red-faced, over-the-top angry and threatening at anyone, I’m done. Because someday it will be directed at me and I’m not going to sit around and wait for that day to happen.
In that book, which was for men, I said that if you talk about women that way, you should get help before your next relationship, because there are men who don’t ever use that kind of language about women or react to situations with that kind of anger. And doing so in my opinion indicates some issues that need to be addressed before you can be in an intimate relationship with someone.
So I have no tolerance for angry or violent men. But I also have no tolerance for people who are just generally mean or nasty towards others. I apply that same mindset towards my friendships.
I have known my best friend since 7th grade, so over thirty years at this point. And I honestly don’t think she has a mean bone in her body. She’s so nice that I tease her about it sometimes. (I on the other hand am clearly a work in progress.)
Being nice doesn’t mean she’s a Pollyanna who doesn’t see the negative in the world. She does. And she will acknowledge it. And she will state a fact about someone that is not positive.
But what she doesn’t do is revel in saying negative things about others. There is no glee or joy or enjoyment in sharing a negative fact. And she only will say something like that if it’s relevant to the conversation.
She manages 100+ people and at a place where a lot of people have issues in their lives. So when she’s talking to me about the fourteen-year-old who had to quit because she got pregnant, that’s not a “OMG, would you believe…how trashy” moment. It’s a, deep sigh, “Yeah, I had an employee this summer who…and it’s really tough and…” moment.
There’s empathy there, not superiority.
My other best friend has a similar personality. Again, she’s not oblivious to bad things happening or bad people existing in this world, but she doesn’t use that to lift herself up or make herself feel good.
I personally probably say more shit about people than either of them. I am more judge-y. I will say, “Wow. I would not do that.” (What can I say? I try to find people who are better than me to be friends with and then hope they improve me.)
But at the same time, I honestly, truly, do strive not to be mean about others. And I don’t know how to explain that difference to people who don’t get it. Pointing out something bad or negative someone has done is not the same thing as being mean about others.
For example, I had a few “friends” in high school who took pleasure in mocking others. I remember going to the mall with one of them and all they wanted to do was sit in the main area of the mall, point out other people, and make fun of them. That was enjoyable for that person. (And one of the reasons to this day that if I ever saw them again I’d cross the street to avoid them. They are on my NEVER list.)
That person may not have been violent or dangerous like some others can be, but that doesn’t excuse that type of emotionally damaging behavior. People who approach life that way just make it a worse world for all of us.
And that is not the type of person I want in my personal space. It is not behavior I’m willing to excuse or accept.
To each their own obviously. Plenty of people like that do very well so they clearly have a following or acceptance for being that way. It’s just not what I want in my life. And if you don’t want that in your life either, you don’t have to accept it. Plenty of good people like my two best friends out there in the world.