Volunteering

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I had critique Saturday. My critique partners are on the board of my chapter, and were talking about needing more volunteers, especially people who have history with the group. Then they turned and looked at me.

I tried to explain my head almost popped off this last month with 2 manuscripts being revised, getting observed by my principal, getting kids ready for the state test and having a book coming out. If I added one more thing to my list….no. I can’t.

I came home to more such requests from my online chapter. I feel terribly guilty for letting the burden fall to others-yes, I know we’re all busy-but I know if I was coordinating the chapter contest now, say, or had one more responsibility outside my current ones, my head would pop off.

I admire the heck out of people who can, like one of my cps, who has a fulltime job, edits, writes, has a family, teaches online classes, runs the chapter critique group and is on the board. Can you imagine that being me? I would be bald.

It was easier for me when I was music teacher. I didn’t have papers to grade or progress reports to get out or parent conferences. I had programs to put on, but other than that and my scheduled classes, my time was my own, and relatively stress-free. I was able to do a lot more then.

So I feel guilty, but I need to protect my sanity, and my writing. I mean, I didn’t get into writing because I wanted to belong to groups, which sounds sad. I got in because I want to tell stories, and all that volunteer stuff takes away from it. I’m even thinking of not belonging to the groups anymore because I don’t want that extra guilt, you know?

Do you volunteer? How do you find time?

I’m blogging ALL over today.

I’m at Supernatural Sisters talking about 1967 Impalas.

I’m at The Romance Studio talking about keeper shelves.

And I’m at The Wet Noodle Posse talking about some of the best onscreen kisses.

Between that and two chats….I should have stayed home.


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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mar, do NOT feel guilty. You have given and given and given to the group, for years. It is not as if you have been sitting on your ass the last decade. There is a limit to our available energies and reserves. If others have higher levels, more power to them. They can expend it at will. But you need to know what is right for you, and do that. This keeps you from becoming the empty well.

J

Amie Stuart said...

I will NEVER volunteer (or run for office) again. EVER!!!
And while i"m all for giving back, I'm also with you. If you lose your sanity, then what good are you to anyone? Esp your writing?

Stephanie said...

You need to do whatever you feel is right to maintain your sense of balance. Life is about flow... you've helped a lot in the past, and there may be periods in the future when you do, too. But right now is to focus on you! Congrats on the book coming out :) And btw, love the kitty photos... I often come here to get a chuckle and a case of the warm fuzzies!

Kelly Boyce said...

I was VP of our Chpt for 2 years and followed that up by being president for another 2 yrs. During that time I also volunteered for the educational sessions, organized our annual retreat and usually gave an educational session at the retreat. By the end of the 4 yrs, on top of a full time job and writing 5 days a week I was TAPPED OUT. I only volunteered to do one educational session last year and this year I'll do another but I think you need to learn what your limits are. There's no point volunteering if its going to cause you to lose your mind. THen you just end up resenting it.

MJFredrick said...

I don't feel like I've given that much. I haven't done anything in about 3 years. Before that, yeah, and my time should be rolling around, but now's the time I really can't fit it in.

Amie, one of my chapter mates has the mantra, "Protect the writing." That's what I'm trying to do now.

Stephanie, you don't know how I grin to see you back :) Thanks! I hate being selfish, but this is what I've been working for for TWELVE years. I'm not willing to give up the opportunities that are building.

Kelly, WOW! No wonder you were tapped out. That's a huge list of responsibilities. I know what you mean about the resentment. Volunteering made my chapter feel like a job instead of a joy.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Don't feel guilty, Mary! Every person should do what they can, and if you can tell me there's no one in your chapter who has never volunteered for anything, I'll eat dog food. There are always people who can be tapped! I think volunteers tend to seek the people they know/like the best to do additional stuff, but it's no good for the chapter if you have to be dragged into it. Stay strong!

MJFredrick said...

Natalie, I think you're dead on about them asking people they know they can depend on. My cp has spoken at THREE of the quarterly workshops, because they know she's dependable. But yeah, when you start to resent it, no fun.

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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