Change is inevitable. I know that, still it’s always a shock to me when something that has been for years and years ceases to be. Lately, it seems like a lot of things are changing. There are the stores that have disappeared: Toys R Us, Radio Shack, Borders, for example. And there are the publishing houses and publishing lines that no longer exist. Some failed/some were gobbled up by the big guys.

I’ve been a published writer for over thirty years and in that time, I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I wasn’t prepared for the announcement last week that the Romantic Times Conference, RT magazine, and website would cease to be. I know several writers who have been loyal followers and attendees of RT. They’re in shock.

And now Romance Writers of America is considering dropping the Golden Heart Contest. Wow.

From what I read, the reason for dropping GH is lack of participation. It’s just not worth it, financially or in time. Suggestions are being presented by RWA members on ways to keep the contest going, so it will be interesting to see how that develops. I know I was disappointed when both the GH contest and the RITA stopped giving comments. I liked knowing why the judges didn’t think my book was fantastic. I didn’t always agree with the judges, but their comments allowed me to see how different readers see and want different elements in a story.

I’m wondering how the chapter contests (the ones that do provide scores and comments) are faring? Has the participation in those contests also dropped?

Other organizations I belong to (unrelated to writing) have also been suffering a decline. Last month the boating squadron I belong to took the first steps to disband. Why? Because we aren’t getting new, younger members and the older members are either dying or simply getting too old to actively participate.

Even with my RWA Chapter, we seem to have trouble finding new members to run for office or chair committees. Newer members either don’t have the time or inclination.

What’s the solution? I don’t know, but some changes are making me sad.

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14 Responses to Changes

  1. Nevermind, Dear Maris. My writing, publishing careeer is not changing for the better, either. Nevertheless we write on–into the sunset of our years. Sail on. Rohn

    P.S. Have you seen my New WEBSITE?

  2. Sharon Ervin says:

    Circulation of our hometown newspaper has dwindled. No more paper boys, as subscribers are no longer at every house. Delivery from car windows worked for a while. Then: No home delivery EXCEPT by mail. That’s right, the mailman delivers our daily paper with the mail. It bears today’s date. Scary, because as a journalism school grad, I know how fastidious editors were about print news. A free press is one of the checks on government. If we lose our newspapers…we lose.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Sharon, the point you are making is so true. We are losing or have lost the LOCAL newspapers. The big, syndicated papers are hanging on, but through those we are fed National and International news as dictated by the paper’s owner’s philosophy. The local papers brought us what our neighbors were doing and thinking, made us more of a community. Nowadays, if there is a local paper, it’s usually published once a week and is barely hanging on.

  3. Everything seems to have its natural life span, but it’s hard to see something we’ve invested time and perhaps money in come to an end. But that only means something else will rise in its place. Our local movie house closed, but later reopened with fewer movies but more live acts for the younger crowd. I keep writing and encouraging others to keep reading and reviewing and talking about books. As one colleague said, Change is the constant; attitude is the variable.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Good points, Susan. With all of the changes that have happened over the decades, we really can’t keep everything the same, but I do find it sad to see long-time organizations that still serve a function dying simply because the younger generation doesn’t have the time (or inclination) to join. But that’s probably because of my age.

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    Change is a challenge for me. I loved the RT magazine when I was just a reader. I scour it each month and highlight the upcoming releases that I wanted to buy. Now I don’t have the money or time for all that reading. Still I’m sad to see it go. I think the lack of free time is a reason for so many changes. We are working even on vacation and I work while eating dinner or at my in-laws when I’m visiting. It’s hard to shut off when you know that you have to get your information out there and keep getting new readers. But it’s not just that…it’s keeping up with family and friends. Sending cards and then add working full time on top of it! Whew! Life was much more fun when it was simpler.

    • Maris Soule says:

      You’re right, Melissa, we have become so busy we don’t even take time to relax. At least, that’s how it seems. Even in retirement, my calendar is so full I’m embarrassed when someone wants to set up a time/date to get together. I feel like an office secretary saying, “I’ll try to fit you in next Wednesday.” Today I have to finish this comment quickly because I have to be somewhere in 40 minutes, then I’ll be busy for the next 8 hours, home for 2 hours and then off again. And I’m not alone with a schedule like this.

  5. Diane Burton says:

    I’ll miss RT. Change is always with us. I’m not crazy about it. I just accept it–with a lot of moaning and groaning. My pet peeve regarding change is how Microsoft keeps changing (they say improving) their programs. Just when I get comfortable with where things are in Word, bam, they move them. What a pain!

    • Maris Soule says:

      I’m with you, Diane. Why do we always have to have the “New and Improved” every few months or year? Okay, maybe the changes Microsoft, etc. come up with are good for keeping my brain active, but really…enough!

  6. Lucy Kubash says:

    I agree with Diane. MS is a pain, especially when they decide it’s time for an update, whether I’m ready or not. The biggest change we’ve had lately is retirement! It’s been an adjustment, but I have to say, for the most part, it’s going well and we’re enjoying it. I guess the one thing that is certain is change.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Change and growing old, which, of course, brings changes. You’ll adjust to retirement pretty soon, Lucy, and then you’ll wonder how you ever had time to do anything when you were working.

  7. The North Texas RWA Contest, Great Expectations gives excellent feedback and is going strong with many entrants.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Carolyn, I’m glad to hear that about the Great Expectations Contest. I know I prefer to enter contests where I’ll get feedback. I always appreciate receiving readers’ (including judges) feedback.