AP_McCullough

Dear WisWRA Friends,

We’re now in the thick of the holiday season, with all its celebrations, including the WisRWA area group holiday gatherings scheduled in the next weeks. This also happens to be a time of year when many of us assess where we’ve been and where we want to go. So it is with WisRWA itself.

Since we’re in our membership renewal season, we can take a look at what we’ve been up to and make some goals for our next year. In addition to expanding our membership over the past year, the WisRWA board and the organization’s many volunteers have been taking care of some basics, while also planning exciting new programs and spreading the word about WisRWA.

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our beautiful new website, www.wisrwa.org. In addition to being the face of WisRWA for visitors to the site, the site is designed to provide members with:

  • a calendar of events for all the areas
  • a blog open to everyone’s contributions
  • regular updates on WisRWA’s two contests, workshops, and conferences
  • links to all WisRWA’s social media sites

For the first time, WisRWA’s website has a “Members Only” section, and we’re just beginning to develop its potential. But, for example, if your area has had a great program with valuable handouts, then why not post them so all of us can benefit?

The idea for a members’ knowledge bank goes back a few years, but we finally have the first version of “Who Should I Ask?” posted in our Members Only section. A benefit of membership, “Who Should I Ask?” allows an easy way for WisRWA members to be resources for each other—our first line of research. But it’s only a start. Take a look at the directory and feel free to email me ([email protected]) with questions about contributing to this section and helping us expand it.

WisRWA has also been a prominent presence at various events for authors and the writing community in Wisconsin. In November alone, WisRWA members from all over the state created and served on five panels at the NEW Book Festival at UW Waukesha. We fulfilled our purpose of promoting our romance genre, along with WisRWA. The Green Bay Area Group members served as panelists and while also spreading the word about WisRWA at an all day reader-author event at the Kress Library in DePere.

In the coming year, we’ll continue looking for opportunities to promote WisRWA, the romance genre, and all our authors/members at writing-related events across the state. I think of us as a kind of traveling WisRWA road show. We can’t predict the results of our efforts every time, of course. Still, there’s something wonderfully uplifting about being part of this romance writing community and proudly representing our genre at various gatherings. (And it’s a great way to spend time with our writing pals!)

Continuing WisRWA’s outreach goes hand in hand with our plans to create special programs designed to lure us out to area groups other than our own. I’d like to see 2016 become known as the “year of the caravan,” the year we made a point of traveling to other areas groups to take advantage of enriching programs. Let’s use our membership in this great organization for the simple pleasure of being in each other’s company and learning from each other.

So, watch our website and social media for information about outreach opportunities and programs designed to help us develop our craft and promote our genre.

Meanwhile, thanks for continuing to be a member of this dynamic organization. Your board is working hard, and we need the help and support of every member. As for me, being WisRWA’s president continues to be one of the great privileges of my life.

Virginia