Iâ€™ve been writing stories since I can remember, the first ones in chalk on a blackboard in the hallway outside our bedrooms. In 1996, I let someone try to convince me I could maybe really publish something. I did in 1997, and I got my first â€œthank youâ€ email from a reader. That was â€œthe momentâ€ for me. The moment when I thought maybe I could change the world with my words.
In 2001, I joined RWA, canâ€™t even remember why. Someone mustâ€™ve told me it would be good for me. I expected broccoli (something I like, but it is a vegetable) and instead I found a buffet (broccoli, pot roast, potatoes, jello salad, death by chocolate cake â€“ the works!). Unfortunately, I didnâ€™t realize the buffet was spread out on so many tables and I missed a lot of it, still donâ€™t know a lot of the benefits. There are so many and Iâ€™m finding new ones all the time.
In 2004, my agent sent out my first book â€“ very exciting. We got two â€œwe wouldâ€™ve bought it six months agoâ€ replies, and my agent told me to just write another book and keep going. So I did, not realizing there was this thing called PRO and that it would be helpful for me to join it.
I spent most of 2006 in Sydney, Australia, and strangely thatâ€™s when I learned about PRO. I was making friends at OCC by being involved through email and in online activities and Gina Black told me about it. Then I think Mindy Neff encouraged me again to get the paperwork filled out. But I didnâ€™t see the point â€“ it was just a pin, right? Finally, Sandy Chvostal all but printed out the form for me! I sent it off, got the pin â€“ then an amazing thing happened. I finally started to see that going PRO was about more than a pin!
We get our own retreat at the RWA National Conference with lots of great speakers and information just for us. We have our own Yahoo Groups with tons of information and mini-classes every month. (All free, mind you!) We get treated like professionals instead of wannabes. Respect! I love it! All for proving that we have the capacity and fortitude to say weâ€™re going to write an entire book and send it to an editor or agent. Even if weâ€™re not picked up, people give us the respect of knowing we have it in us.
Now that I know so much about PRO (and Iâ€™m pretty sure what I know is only a part of everything that PRO is!), I encourage all my friends to fill out that darn paperwork! When else in your writing career is someone going to give you a medal for being rejected by an agent or an editor! LOL!! Going PRO has really helped me grow as a writer. So join us â€“ go PRO and grow!
Kitty Bucholtz is a co-founder of Routines For Writers, a new web site to help writers write more. She writes light urban fantasy novels with a romantic comedy spin â€“ and loves every minute of it! Even though she loves talking about, writing about, and teaching about writing, sheâ€™s pretty sure she knows at least three people who arenâ€™t writers.