Back at the December GLAWS Special Speaker Event I was one of four members to receive a Certificate of Appreciation “For Your Outstanding Service, Important Contribution of Time and Energy, And Invaluable Support of the Society’s Mission and Vision”, from the GLAWS president, Tony N. Todaro. My contribution consists of volunteering at the monthly Special Speaker events and at the last five or six GLAWS writer’s conferences – I’m beginning to lose count.
Years ago, my wife and I attended Quattro University, an educational program for entrepreneurs. One of the things co-founder Cheri Tree would say is if you want to be a certain kind of person (i.e. business person), hang out with those kinds of people. Spend time with those who are successful in the field you’re interested in, that’s how you can learn from their success. For me, those people are successful writers and the people they need like agents and editors.
When you’re new to a field like I was, you have no contact to go to. Going to events like writer’s conferences is a good way to find those contacts. Another thing Cheri Tree would say was go early to events, volunteer to help set up and stay late and help tear down. That’s how I started. But it’s become much than that to me. I’ve made friends, colleges, and yes, contacts.
I’m grateful for all I’ve learned through GLAWS, not only improving my skills, but also what it takes to get my work out into the market. I want to give back, I’m glad to give back and volunteering is a way I can do that. I want to help Tony give others the same opportunities he has given me. In the end, we all benefit from it. The conferences run a little smother and over time I make some contacts. Some agents and editors already know me by name and many others recognize by sight.
I’m not exactly Thurston Howell III, so I can’t always throw money at things that I’m grateful for – but I can donate my time. I’m grateful to the American Red Cross for being there when my father needed emergency ulcer surgery. There is nothing scarier than having an ER doctor examine someone you love and say, “We’re operating NOW”. I donate blood regularly and host a yearly blood drive at Loscon, the Los Angeles Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. I’m also on kitchen staff at my church. I love to cook, so it’s the perfect place for me to serve.
Be grateful for what you have and the opportunities you are given. When you step off the road of gratefulness you step onto the path of arrogance.