Hello 2020

When two worlds Implode at the same Time: A personal and a business story, with one outcome. 

I’m going to tell you a secret. My period was 6 days late, expected on the 25th or 26th of December 2019. So, imagine me…pretty much freaking out the entire week of Christmas. By the 30th, I was imagining not being done with kids. I was imagining a bigger van and diapers… By Monday after Christmas, I’d decided that on Friday, the 3rd, I was going to take a test and just get it over with. I mean…I’m not young, so it could be a tumor, right? However, my new year started a new cycle on January 1st [TMI, I know…oh well. There’s just so much TMI on the internet and this seems tame in comparison].

I might have been freaked out but I wasn’t devastated. If you’d asked me, even two weeks ago, what I’d do if I got pregnant, I probably would have gone pale, laughed in your face, and thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me; so much so that adoption might cross my mind. I mean, I’m finally at a point where my youngest is in kindergarten, and I have time to solidly write during the day, to work out without waking at 5am, to even just sit and have coffee. I’ve been consistently making dinner 3-4 times a week. I mean…life is good. Throw a baby in there and more than half of that would disappear, except the parts where I’m “working”, and I do mean making dinner and doing laundry and cleaning shit. However, I was kind of excited. I mean, I’m in the best shape ever, and I was starting to think…I could do this as an experiment. Like, how fit can I stay during a pregnancy. Plus, babies. <3 <3

Here I am with a seriously new perspective. And yes, I have it because I’m not pregnant. And I know that if I’d been pregnant, the internal workings of my psyche would be different, but I can only tell my story, so…

January 1st, I was given a gift. A message in the form of a [not] baby.

STOP F*CKING AROUND. [oh! haha. literally and figuratively]

As my personal life was sending mixed signals, a part of the business life around me was imploding. That’s the word everyone has used for the coming demise of Romance Writers of America. I’ve watched this organization for years. I joined in 2006[ish], shortly after I began writing. For me, I believed its value was in the relationships I’d gained. But as I look back, even that value is far smaller than I give it credit for… I only have 3 close friends from my association with RWA. Most acquaintances have come and gone as I’ve moved.

If you are really interested in what went on in RWA, just Google RWA 2019 Scandal and Courtney Milan. Something will pop up giving you a hint, but maybe nothing unbiased–this is the way of reporting today–so, just read with caution. My blog post here isn’t about the Scandal of RWA in 2019, though. So I’m not going to go on about it.

Instead, I will share how it affected me.

There’s always been an underlying current of politics and social reform within the members of RWA. Years ago, it was the fight for equality between print and digital. The idea that only B-rated porn was being offered as ebooks came from the fact that…yes, lots of porn on the internet. But it just didn’t remain so and really might never have been an accurate assessment because when new things arise, people fear. Change is hard. But digital publication and self-publication fought hard for respect and earned it. RWA fought against it. They fought and feared this uprising of authors who may or may not be approved. They lost the focus of supporting the writer, any writer, and became an entity who drew lines.

And they continued to draw lines for everyone, influencing not just writers but publishers, editors, and agents alike. And every year or few years, in the last fifteen, have been rife with the latest social uprising, which leads to accusations, debates, sides being taken, and discontent. For example, the contests of RWA have gone from having 4 categories to many, too many. Because heaven forbid someone not be represented. There should be 4 categories–contemporary, suspense, historical, paranormal/sci-fi. That’s it. It shouldn’t matter what kind of suspense you write or what kind of historical. Whether your characters are straight, gay, white, hispanic, Christian or Buddhist; whether the writer is they, black, white, Atheist or JW.

There is ONE type in a writing group, a WRITER. Period.

Writers for Writers: On Writing. <– this should be the name of the organization, the WWW.

Not Writers for Conform, or Writers for Reform, or Writers for Readers, or Writers for Equality!  No!!

We are artists, each with our own mission, passions, and goals, taking the issues that drive us and putting them to words. As soon as we start letting other people tell us what to do, we become robots. We become anti-artists.

I follow God. I pray every day. I ask Him to show me what He wants of me. He asks me to use my gifts for His glory. My gift is writing romance, writing stories about love between two people. The joy within me comes from penning stories of redemption and forgiveness and love, sex included!

And in the last two years, I have failed my passions and my gifts. I have struggled to separate the politics from the art. I have let doubt and uncertainty bind me and trap me in this corner. No more.

My RWA membership will expire this year–for good. I’m pulling myself up out of the pool of social norm and conform–in RWA, online, and in real life. It’s too crowded. Jumping on the bandwagon is the most unindividual effort an artist can make. I teach my children to be independent and have a mind of their own. Don’t follow the crowd! If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you?

Sound familiar?

Well, who am I to not follow my own advice?

My advice to you, Writer and Artist. Don’t waste time, it could be gone in an instant. This year, move forward! Get excited! Find joy. Unfollow the people who are killing that joy. Reinvent your support group. Don’t write what is expected, don’t write what other people tell you is romance!

I will not box my creativity in with lines drawn by society and culture. This isn’t the way of the artist.

To me, this is the death of dreams.

So, your entrance might not have been as [melo]dramatic as mine, but WELCOME to 2020!

I wish you freedom of mind and spirit in which to create. I wish you a hope-filled, energetic, and amazing NEW YEAR!

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

2 Responses to Hello 2020

  1. I feel a little of that “joy” has been killed by RWA. Too many angry people and too much judgement.
    I think it will be nice to be free from those constraints and just write.

  2. Cyn says:

    I just wish you could see me jumping up and down and yelling “hooray” right now. I am SO fired up by your post. Well done! And SO TRUE!!

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