Volunteering, it’s a little like writing

I’m RMFW president. Huh. Didn’t see that coming. I live on the western slope. People said no one outside of the Denver area would ever be president. That was ok with me.

When I wrote my first words and sat back to re-read them, I admired those words. I was writing the next best seller. I had this shit. I was good. I went on-line to find other writers so they could also admire my words.

In that search, I found Colorado Romance Writers and shortly thereafter attended my first writers’ gathering. A weekend retreat. In hindsight, getting lost on the way there was likely the universe’s foreshadowing. I left the retreat in tears. I sucked. Not just my writing, but me. I embarrassed myself. I was awkward. Couldn’t read my own writing. Couldn’t answer questions about my storyline. What the hell was POV?

I didn’t give up. If I had, I wouldn’t have found RMFW. Wouldn’t have met all of you. Wouldn’t know my best friend. May not have grown up as nicely as I have. I digress.

It didn’t take me long to realize writing is hard work. It takes time. Ups and downs abound. There are times I read my work and groan. I suck. Still.

Other times I read and once again admire it. In those times, I often don’t remember writing the words. Sometimes, I think I channel an old writer who is pissed she’s dead and wants her words in this world. I wish she would show up more often.

Back to volunteering. I will never forget my first job with RMFW. Well, actually I’m lying. I’ve forgotten a lot of it. I hope that means I was channeling again. Maybe a long dead conference Goddess.

At the first conference I attended, shortly after entering the hotel, I was made the next year's co-conference chair. I was not yet an RMFW member. It took a bit for me to understand what I had been volunteered for, as I hadn’t been privy to that conversation. After many questions and answers that weren’t quite sinking in, my best friend, Marne, held up her arms and waved to encompass the entire hotel and all of the people in sight and said “We are doing all of this. One year from now.”

Once I fully comprehended, I strutted around a bit. The next year, I would be the boss. In control. Back then control was important to me. Thankfully not so much any more.

Then the hard work started. I didn’t even know RMFW, much less how to put on a conference. I am positive there was a lot eye-rolling on the other side of calls and emails. That was a long, exhausting, scary year. And a rewarding one. I met people who have been friends since. Who I will grow old with. Maybe a few of us will get together and do a little channeling ourselves once we’re gone from this world.

Together, Marne and I pulled the conference off. Not sure how well we did it, but we did it. Except for a few months after that first year, I’ve been on the board since. Held a few positions. Helped a bit with conference each year.

I’ve learned more and gained more from my time with RMFW than I can explain in one blog post. I’m grateful. Also more than I can explain.

When I realized I would be the next RMFW president, I thought to myself, I got this. I can do this. I now alternate between, Geez, Vicki, do not screw this up and I got this and wow, how do I fix this situation? Oh, and of course there is I suck. By the way, this is only the second month of my two year term. It’s been an interesting ride already.

But, I don’t expect as much eye-rolling. I know RMFW. I can speak in public. I’ve spent years helping to solve problems, working with the board and putting on events. My abilities and knowledge have grown. I’m a steadier person.

I also still have much to learn.

I’m in the same place with my current WIP. It’s been a long time coming. I’d like to blame it on working and volunteering, but in reality, it’s just been a long time coming. However, I have found my voice. I’m close to typing The End. I’m excited about what I’ve written. I like what I read.

I know what POV means.

I also still have much to learn.

Spotlight on Vicki Law

vl profile pic.jpegThis week we are pleased to feature Vicki Law. If you've been around RMFW for any amount of time, you will recognize Vicki by her cheerful countenance and amazing, active involvement with RMFW including the annual Colorado Gold conference. As if that's not enough, Vicki is also responsible for pulling together the Western Slope contingency. It's obvious by her 2013 Jasmine Award, her outstanding volunteer efforts didn't go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Now, to adjust the light so it glares in her eyes...

1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I am currently the Education Chair; Western Slope Chair; and PR Chair. I’m looking to give away the PR Chair (any takers?). I love RMFW and what we have become. Simple as that. Interesting facts…When Marne and I co-chaired the conference in 2007, we begged agents and editors to come to our conference. Now, RMFW has A&E’s contact us and we have even had a couple of them pay their own expenses to come. That shows you how far RMFW has come in the last few years.

Last year when I contacted Jess Lourey to ask her to present at the May Education Event – her response was “You all at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers are nationally-renowned (and envied) for all you do--kudos!”

Woot! That’s all I got to say.

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

Currently Pre-Published. Yes, I love that term. I’m working on a fantasy romance with flying unicorns and big bugs, but don’t be thinking pink and glittery. My flyers are warriors. The horns are for killing the bugs and the manuscript has an old-west flavor to it. Most importantly, a yummy hero and a kick-ass heroine.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists-- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

Get published of course! Winning the lottery wouldn’t be bad either, but I’m leaving that up to Mike.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Hmm, I spend a lot of time with my butt in a chair and my hands on the keyboard, but unfortunately, it isn’t always writing. There seems to be a lot of other things that need done. An excuse, I fully realize. I hear at every conference, successful writers write every day. That’s something I’m striving for, but don’t often achieve.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

The people. I know most writers are solitary kind of folk. It seems I’m the opposite. I guess that goes to question #4 above. Maybe I need to be less social and more solitary.

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Listen to those who have gone before. Attend critique groups, workshops and conferences. Soak it all in and grow a very thick skin. No matter how many workshops I attend, I always learn something.

vicki desk7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it? 

Most of the time, I'm uber-organized. Unlike dear husband and fellow RMFWer and writer, Mike Ruchhoeft, whose desk is only a few feet away. Ack. Issue!

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

Love Dared, by Marne Ann Kirk…yes I know some of you are rolling your eyes and say “sure, you are”, but I am!  It came out recently and I hadn’t read it since I critiqued it several years ago. Nor had I read it since she made critique and editorial changes. Reading it on my phone with my Kindle app. It’s the only way I read.

Thanks, Vicki, for sharing with us. I know I speak for everyone when we give you a big thank you for all you do. (I'll turn off that light now. I see you're starting to sweat a bit.)

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Vicki’s first experience with RMFW was to attend the 2006 Colorado Gold Conference with her husband, Mike Ruchhoeft and best friend, Marne Kirstatter. Immediately, she felt welcome and was in awe of the RMFW well-oiled machine. Less than an hour after walking into the hotel, she’d reluctantly agreed to co-chair the 2007 conference with Marne. After a bit of confusion regarding her own impetuous actions, Vicki got online, joined RMFW and has never regretted it. Now, seven years later, she considers RMFW her tribe. She has gone from being unable to moderate small workshops to presenting her own classes and speaking in front of large crowds. She has also gained a plethora of marketable skills from her volunteer position with RMFW. More importantly, she’s learned to write and she’s come to know the ever-evolving writing industry. Because of RMFW, agents and editors, New York Times Bestselling authors and Excellent Writers in various stages of their writing journey are among her friends. She lives in Montrose with her husband and a large, varied furry and scaly menagerie. Thankfully all six of their kids are grown and out of the house, raising their seven grandkids. On the side, Vicki manages a law office, where she has worked for the best boss in the whole world for the past 20 years.