I went to Tucson's RWA chatper meeting today. It's a bit of a drive, but it's a pleasant drive through some of my old haunts, and it made for a nice day of me time. Had a lot of fun, really enjoyed the group's attitude toward writing and encouraging others. Liked the way they manage the money they took from me a lot better than the money RMFW took from me. But while these folks would be taking less money from me for annual membership, they will be taking more money from me any time I wanted to attend a workshop. Granted, the workshops are of better overall quality than RMFW's (not speaker-wise; the local pros in RMFW are fantabulous), but still it's more money.
All that being said, I was going to become a member of this writing group tonight when I read the details of membership and realized I had to become a member of the RWA national organization (which is a bit more money in annual dues, and I'm not entirely sure I want to spend that much more money on an organization in which my preferred genres are treated as secondary novel elements). So I've delayed my decision.
It's not going to be easy. I don't have a comparable group to what I was used to in Colorado (meaning good quality critique group that meets regularly not too far from where I live), and I'm not sure that Tucson RWA (or even one of the two Phoenix RWAs) could provide that for me. So that's a decent bit of money for something that's not my primary genre and that won't give me an opportunity for the steady feedback I had before. But I can't seem to find any other writer's orgs that are even remotely close to me, and part of the reason RMFW worked so well for me was that it was a weekly gathering of like-minded folks whose company I enjoyed while we gabbed about the business and art of writing.
I can't ignore the fact that this may be one of only a few chances I get to find some local writing buddies without running a personal ad or holding out for serendipity in the bookstores. And I can't ignore how connected I felt today, similar to how I felt at my first ever critique group meeting. How much is that worth to me?