Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Testing

First, let me apologize for posting this blog so late in the day. The reason for my tardiness is actually the subject of today’s blog.

In my “day” job, I am a professor. I placed day in quotation marks because being a professor is one of those jobs that is in no way limited to the daylight hours. I may sometimes have a more flexible schedule and get the summers mostly off (hey, I’m not complaining, just tired), but one definitely doesn’t leave this work at the office. This weekend, for instance, I’ll be caught up in the grading department (unlike last week) but will be supervising students on several service projects.

Ah, the title of the blog…these past two weeks have encompassed the dreaded days you remember from school. You know, the ones where all of your teachers seem to have had a meeting and decided to give you a test in every single subject? Hee, hee, okay, we don’t actually get together, it’s just there’s a certain amount of material where it’s not too much to test and not too little. So I have been writing, giving, and grading tests until I have to peel my eyes open.

What does this have to do with writing you might well ask? Well, in my writing life, I am co-president of my local RWA chapter and, as such, I receive the nationwide Chaplink for presidents of local RWA chapters. Recently, a president wrote in on behalf of published chapter members. Her question was, should you kick out/encourage to leave those unpublished members who don’t seem to be making any progress toward publishing?

Hear the outrage I didn’t express on the other loop? Part of the discussion in response centered on the idea you should keep us unpubs around so we can do the work of the chapter since pubs don’t have as much time. Okay, I’ve not been published, so I don’t know the pressure of those particular demands, but I’m not swimming in time. I felt the little spurt of anger at those defending us!

Life shouldn’t be a test. I know, because I’m not judging my students with a 40 anymore than I do the ones with a 95. Hmm… maybe not a good analogy because we do fail students who don’t pass, but my point is writing isn’t like that. It’s a passion, not just a career, a part of who we are, and if I don’t publish in this arena (by the way, my research is cited in a parenting expert’s book in Barnes & Noble—students have been coming up to me telling me how excited they are to see their professor’s name), my journey AND my time are just as valuable.

P.S. I’m not actually that upset, don’t feel the need to comfort me, let’s just rant.


Evonne Wareham said...


Interesting to know that the published/unpublished debate goes on on both sides of the pond. Over here the Romantic Novelists' Association is the only one of the professional writers' associations who allows unpublished members and actually encourages them with it's influential New Writer's scheme. Even then there is a very small minority who don't really approve. But everyone has to start somewhere, and encourgement and tutoring from people who know is worth rubies.

Mel Hiers said...

You know, one of the big reasons why I finally decided to join RWA is because of all the organization does for unpubs. The resources, access to the RWR, contests, networking. That's pretty rare in professional organizations. I hope that attitude is rare in this one.

Savanna Kougar said...

Well, Lexie, you might not want comfort. But, personally, I am absolutely outraged!!!
How dare they treat people like that.
If you want a pubbed chapter only, then create one. Don't have an open pubbed and un-pubbed, then think about kicking people out, or keeping them around for the crummy reasons stated. That's just disgusting, and one reason I don't belong to many chapters, clubs, etc!