Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ask Not What Your Club Can Do For You…

by Jerry Davis

What is a Writers’ Club?
What should it be, what should it do for its members?

Quick answer:
A Writers’ Club should provide, as far as possible, those things the members want from the club.

Are all Writers’ Clubs the same?
By the above definition, no. No two groups of writers are the same, so no two clubs are exactly alike. There is no single formula for a writers’ club, and you can’t successfully copy from another.

Can any Writers’ Club perfectly provide for the desires of every member?
                Doesn’t seem likely. Would take a lot of communication and volunteer effort.

What does the Village Writers’ Club provide for its members?
                The Bylaws, adopted by the membership, lists four primary purposes:



     1.1  The name of the organization shall be "Village Writers' Club."
     1.2  The purpose of the Club shall be to provide a forum to:
             a.  exchange writing-related experiences, skills and concerns,
             b.  motivate production of original writing by its members,
             c.  improve the writing skills of members,
             d.  assist members in marketing their work.

Does the Village Writers’ Club provide for its members in these areas?
There has been some activity in all these areas within the past year, through programs, workshops, critique groups, and public performance. Some areas were emphasized more than others.

Do the purposes listed in the Bylaws fit the needs of every member?
I don’t know. Doubtful. I don’t even know how to find out, since it is difficult to get timely and reliable information from members.

Does the membership gladly and enthusiastically help with activities need to keep the club going?
Only a few. In fact, the club could fold due to attrition of these few. Some members and frequent guests appear to feel they are entitled to the effort of volunteers, without feeling the impulse to volunteer themselves for supportive roles. Some seem to believe the volunteers who keep it running should be grateful if others attend on occasion. While I gather these attitudes are pervasive in the Village, that doesn’t mean the club will continue without member involvement. Besides, if the same people generally keep things going, only their views will determine club activities, and some members’ interests will not be served.

Am I an old curmudgeon who just wants to complain?
Guilty to the first, but I would like the club to continue. I think its work is valuable for people who would like to write, and especially for senior citizens. That doesn’t mean I want to perform support duties for more years to come without a break. That wouldn’t be good for the club, either. I like certain kinds of programs, diversity would be a good thing.

To paraphrase JFK:
Ask not what your club can do for you, ask, rather, what you can do for your club.

The idea is exactly the same. Volunteer to do as much as you can, split jobs if need, but commit and follow through. That’s how you get something written, isn’t it?

What do you want from the Village Writers’ Club?
  1. What is the most important activity the club can perform?
  2. Are you willing to volunteer for a responsible position in the club? For how long?
  3. Are you willing to volunteer for a few one-time support activities for the club?
  4. Do you think the Village Writers’ Club had just as well fold up and cease to exist?
Let us hear from you. We really want to know what you think.