At some point many freelancers become aware of the many local and national writers associations out there. Maybe you belong to one or two yourself. But if you're just getting started, you might wonder whether paying regular membership fees to these organizations is worth it. You're already getting clients who are keeping you busy with projects, so what's the point of parting with your hard earned money to join one?
Membership has its benefits
Writers associations often come with a number of benefits. Many of these organizations support writers of various genres (e.g. magazine writers, fiction, science fiction, history, etc.). By joining a local association, you may have an opportunity to meet and mingle with members on a weekly or monthly basis. For many of us it's an excuse to get out and socialize. You get to meet others in varying stages of their writing careers. Many associations offer continuing education through regular workshops, lectures and annual conferences increasing the networking opportunities.
Other members only benefits include access to exclusive web pages and articles, member directories, private forums, newsletters, publishers, listings of publishers, book agents and even mentoring programs. Of course group membership could also make you eligible to join group health/dental insurance plans and prepaid legal programs.
Does it meet your needs?
If you can afford the membership fees, you might find that it's worth the investment. Before you join an association, make sure that the focus of the group meets your needs as a writer. For instance, if you're hoping for more help with the business side of things like creating contracts or tips for handling collections on unpaid projects, choose an association that can provide the support you need and helpful resources.