Message from the President

August 2023 RWR
Clair Brett
Ah, and here we are in August. I have always seen this time of year as a season of change. It is all about endings and beginnings, which as writers we understand. All the kids are going back to school, so it is an end to the relaxed, hazy days of summer. They are mostly all moving into a new grade with new subjects, challenges, opportunities, etc. Some people see this time as exciting, others approach changes with fear and apprehension. Which person fairs better during those seasons of change in their lives, do you think?

As a lifelong New Englander, I was not raised with people who embraced change. I, on the other hand, always looked forward to the new beginnings and endings because I saw an opportunity. It was a chance to experience new things, do better than I had before, and find new ways.

As writers, we are in a perpetual state of change. As we write our stories, each chapter needs something different, and it may need something we didn’t even plan on—plot twist! The characters in romance novels must evolve over the course of the story, and there is the inevitable HEA that all the readers are waiting for.

Once we hit that HEA, we move on to the next story or work to get that one out into the world. And don’t get me started with trying to chase the algorithms that change daily. That is just in our day to day. Then, there are the big changes with every level we reach in our career. As authors, we must be prepared to change and evolve as we work our way up the ladder. It can be daunting. Not to mention are the changes in the industry or market that are outside our control. I could go on, but that could get depressing. And that is not my intent.

One thing I think is very important about RWA is that we embrace the unpublished author. Why? Because we have all been the unpublished author with so much possibility, but also so much unknown before us. In the romance industry, there is a belief that if those of us already at the next level can be a beacon to those on the same journey, it will only benefit us all.

At one time, even the most famous romance authors sat in front of their keyboards and waivered if sending a query was a good idea or not. Every successful indie author had to hit publish for the first time. Those moments drastically changed the paths for every writer you are reading now. Overnight? Probably not, but it set them on a new leg of the journey.

Many of us lack the confidence to hit that button, step into that writers’ meeting, or sign up for that conference. You question if you are enough or where you should be. I am here to tell you, you are enough. If you need affirmation, I’m here to give it to you.

Will you get a rejection from the query? Maybe. Will your first book get bad reviews? Probably. But, like the kids all trudging back to school at the beginning of this new year, you need to take that first step.

Change is inevitable. If we spend too much time trying to fight it, we will look up and realize the change has happened without our input. As we look toward the horizon, I encourage you to take your next step. Sign up for that class, or offer to volunteer at your chapter or at the national level. Put yourself out there. Change looks very different from on top of the wave, as opposed to underneath it.

What is your next step? How do you plan on taking it?