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Re: [writers-715] The State of Our Union (aka That Being Said...)

From: Michele C.
Sent on: Saturday, January 31, 2009 4:00 AM
Hi! I would like to add:
  • Everyone that can show up for the discussion on Monday PLEASE come and have your two cents counted. We have such a diverse group, I love it. I always meet such interesting writers and I hope everyone finds as much value in meeting as I do.
  • 2 Months of inactivity seems a little harsh - how about 6? Or at least 3? I get the point, but I would be pissed if I had, say, moved, lost internet connection, had a baby, built a house for Habitat For Humanity, etc., and come back to check in with my Long-Term writer's group and found myself kicked off the list. Just sayin'.
  • Location. I agree with Thomas. Just try to find a free space with available parking and the hours we need without bumping into 11 other MeetUps. Hmph. I am tired of screaming over the sounds of crowds, traffic, music, or blenders and machines. I hate circling for parking. I am not driving to Shoreline or Bellevue or any other place 20 miles from my home after work. 
  • It would be nice if everyone that hasn't yet done so just got over themselves and ponied up $5 or $6 a month and showed up to the rented space. The parking is free and easy. We have free tea, in lots of flavors. There's even a Mr. Coffee, with good non-canned coffee available to brew. And $0.50 bottled water, or free tap H2O. I know you spend that much on parking and/or beverages when we meet in cafes... I don't get the problem. MeetUp Organizers shouldn't have to pay for everything themselves!

On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 7:53 PM, Thomas Bell <[address removed]> wrote:
My Fellow Writers-

I have become frustrated lately with our group. And, really, it's silly to be frustrated about a situation if you don't share the problem with others so they can help you fix it. So, let's talk.

I know that a writers' group that only meets once a month is somewhat doomed to failure to begin with. You have every intention of going, and then, suddenly, it's time for a meetup, and you've made other plans because when something is THIS infrequent, well, you tend to forget about it. I should know... I forgot about January's meeting, lol.

But there is a reason why our meetings are few and far between: they're expensive. Currently, we're renting a fantastic space in the upper Fremont area, and yes, I did say renting. It's $20/hr for the space, and we reserve it for three hours a month. So, $60.

Why on earth do you pay so much? you might ask. Well, it's a well-lit, completely quiet space with plenty of tables and chairs, and it's incredibly conducive to the listening and reading-aloud of written works.

Some of you may not have had the chance to come to a meeting yet, but yes, we read our work aloud. There are many philosophical, mechanical, and darn-good reasons for this, but that's an entirely different e-mail.

And then there's the cost of the Meetup Site Subscription: that's $19 a month. And I know there are ways to pay less (by paying a lump sum for a set number of months in advance), but, that money comes directly from me, and I don't always have a chunk of cash to spare.

So, since I've been running the Meetup for a year, that's $228 in subscription fees, and I generally try to supply $30 for every meeting we have toward the rental of the space. Michele, our fantastic asst. organizer, has also contributed a significant amount of her money toward keeping the group up and running, as have a loyal few who come to our meetings regularly. I cannot thank them enough.

But, it's a new year, and I have decided we need to make some changes. Change can be uncomfortable, and change can be unpleasant, but change prevents stagnation and helps us to grow and move forward.

*First, the most pressing issue is the Meetup site itself. Our ranks recently swelled to over 135 members, and yet our largest meeting had only 17 attendees (which, I admit, shocked the heck outta me). Groups mean group participation, and there is very little you need to do to participate:

I would like everyone to start RSVPing to the Meetups. It takes very little time and effort to do so, and it will ensure that it keeps your status 'Active' and up-to-date.

Why is that important? you ask. It is important because, effective Feb. 8th, anyone who has been inactive on the Meetup site for more than two (2) months will be dropped. I feel that this is both fair and reasonable.

*Second, effective as of the March Meetup, I am placing a cap on the amount of money Michele and I will be contributing to the costs of the group.

I will continue to pay for the Meetup site, and I will contribute $10 per month to the cost of room rental. I am placing the same $10 cap on Michele.

So, if we continue to hold our meetings at the same location, you (the members) will need to come together on the remaining $40. The more people that chip in, obviously, the easier it will be to reach that goal.

***Our other option is to find a new venue, and this is something that Michele and I are VERY open to. We love our current spot, but we know it's expensive and that it's out of the way. Thing is, it's all we have at the moment.

I know that everyone would really prefer a more central location (i.e., a place downtown-ish), but Michele and I need your help in finding this mythical location. I'm including the criteria below:

1) Large enough to accommodate, at least, 15 people
2) Available 6:30pm to 9:30pm on Mondays
3) Quiet and fairly secluded
4) Preferably free or low-cost

If you can get me the name, address, and phone number of a place matching this description, I will see what I can do. And we're still sticking with Mondays because it's still the most open day of the week for all of us (as far as I have been informed).

So, that's the state of our union. I know it's kinda harsh and pushy, but it's the hard truth. Michele and I can't do this alone. And, if we all really want to be a part of this writers' group, I know we will work together to make it happen.

Please, of course, feel free to e-mail me if you have questions, concerns, or other.

See you all on Monday.


This message was sent by Thomas Bell ([address removed]) from The Seattle Writers Meetup Group.
To learn more about Thomas Bell, visit his/her member profile
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