Are YOU Ready to Make a Difference in 2017? … by Angela La Voie

As writers, the very first encouragement of our work likely came from a parent or teacher. As we mature in our writing careers, peer support and encouragement buoys us through rejection, missed goals, and abandoned projects. And that support helps us reach important milestones, take on new challenges, and celebrate success. That support and encouragement is at the heart of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers mission.

Dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and educating writers seeking publication in commercial fiction, RMFW brings you programming, information, education, critique groups, and special events through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers each year.

As Volunteer Coordinator, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank each of you who gave of your time and talents in 2016. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to those of you who volunteered in more than one role! To all of our volunteers, please step forward again this year—in the same role or in a new capacity that appeals to your 2017 focus.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to interact with members, make new friends, and expand your horizons. Volunteering enables you to share skills you already have and to acquire new ones.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert and whether you like to give a little here and there, help with a specific project, or contribute on an ongoing basis, there’s a volunteer role for you.

There are dozens of ways you can contribute your skills through RMFW, allowing you to give back to those mentors and colleagues who’ve uplifted you and to pay it forward. The time and skills you share with other members can give another writer the insight that fuels the crucial manuscript revisions that land him that first agent. Maybe it’s a newsletter article or blog post you write that helps someone make it through the first edit letter (or through the third edit letter on his fifth book). Your encouragement as a presenter may help an author break through with her next release.

There’s no pressure to be a miracle worker to volunteer. Everyone has something valuable to offer.

Here are some of the volunteer roles that keep RMFW thriving:

  •  newsletter contributor
  •  blog contributor
  •  monthly program presenter
  •  RMFW Gold Conference:
    •  presenter
    •  table host
    •  registration-desk assistant
    •  workshop monitor
    •  mentor-room coordinator
    •  workshop-proposal reviewer
    •  pitch coach and mentor
    •  bookstore-setup assistant
    •  author-signing assistant
    •  author-reading emcee
  •  RMFW Gold Contest intake coordinator
  •  RMFW Gold Contest judge
  •  WOTY and IWOTY selection-committee member
  •  critique-group leader
  •  social media assistant
  •  Moodle administrator
  •  website developer
  •  forum administrator
  •  podcast assistant
  •  podcast guest

Each of these roles presents the opportunity to make a difference in the course of our organization. Whatever your schedule, skillset, and interest permit, I hope you’ll consider volunteering with RMFW today!

Leadership Opportunities

Many volunteers assist in more than one role over time. Many also choose to serve in a leadership capacity at some point. Here are some of the key RMFW volunteer roles currently available:

Programs Chair (Denver-Area)

Recruits presenters for monthly free programs for members. Coordinates program logistics. Coordinates promotion of monthly programs through the website, newsletter, emails, and social media. Participates in board planning, discussion, and reporting.

Hospitality Chair

Coordinates with Programs Chair and provides refreshments at Denver-area monthly programs. Provides refreshments at all board meetings and announcement events, such as Writer of the Year/Independent Writer of the Year Event. Plans and coordinates the annual holiday party. Participates in board planning, discussion, and reporting.

Blog Editor

Works with co-editor to plan regular and guest contributor posts. Works with contributors to ensure timely submission of content. Schedules content through WordPress and troubleshoots posts. Requires keen eye for detail, impeccable grammar, and knowledge of WordPress.

How To Get Started

Send me an email at volunteer@rmfw.org. I’ll send you a volunteer application with all the questions and information needed to help you find the right volunteer role for you. The more information about your skills and background you include in your application, the easier it is to match you with the perfect volunteer opportunity. Once I review your application, I’ll pass it along to our board members and other committee chairs. Most committee chairs prefer to interview prospective volunteers themselves. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about the key duties and the time commitment involved. Together, we’ll work to ensure you’re volunteering in a capacity that’s fulfilling for you. To volunteer for the RMFW Colorado Gold Conference, complete a volunteer preference form.

Remember, for the hundreds of hours we stay glued to our seats honing our craft, volunteering gives us the chance to connect with others, share our knowledge, develop new skills, and expand our horizons. And while writing may be a solo occupation, a writing career is forged through the endeavors of all the teachers, mentors, editors, publishing contacts, and other writers who’ve helped to shape our work. Volunteer with RMFW and help shape another writer’s future. Here’s to a terrific 2017 and to the volunteers who make RMFW so vibrant!

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Angela La Voie is RMFW volunteer coordinator and newsletter editor. Her articles have appeared in The Chicago Sun-Times, Daily News of Los Angeles, The Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free Press, on MS-NBC.com, and through The New York Times News Service. She’s also published poems and essays in a variety of literary journals and magazines. She holds a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) in English and communication from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is currently working on her second novel, her fourth book overall.

Angela La Voie