SFWA: To Join Or Not To Join?

*gunfire*

*gunfire stops*

GROSSER: Comrade! Hey, comrade!

MARTIN: What?

GROSSER: Why don’t you just join the Union? We’ll go upstairs together and cap Daddy!

MARTIN: This union, is there gonna be meetings?

GROSSER: Of course!

MARTIN: … no meetings.

*gunfire commences*

* * *

I’m nesting on the idea of joining the SFWA.

I like what they represent, in theory. And given a lot of the, erm, fun that’s been going on there in the ranks lately, maybe adding a positive voice to the mix would have some value. Plus: Writer Beware! Such useful. Very service. Wow. I also know a lot of great people in the organization and, oh, hey: I am a science-fiction writer. In America. SO I GUESS I QUALIFY AND STUFF.

On the other hand: that Grosse Pointe Blank video above is kinda me? Like, I dig that writing is a community but at the end of the day this whole thing has a distinctly Ronin-writer-without-clan vibe to it. And right now my time is strained so hard the elastic in my schedule’s waistband is about to snap. If this just means I get more emails that I have to answer (and will probably fail to answer), woooo, jeez, please, no. And finally, given the, erm, fun that’s been going on in the ranks lately, I see some voices abandoning ship.

(A discussion on SFWA’s relevance to self-publishers is here. The comment section is a mix of interesting, thoughtful, and worthless, but that’s increasingly par for the course there.)

I joined HWA once upon a time and had a hard time seeing any benefit from it. And being there significantly increased the noise in my life rather than decreasing it.

So: you people.

What are your experiences? I’m not looking for a list of benefits available from the SFWA — I can see that from their website. I’d like to hear from writers who have joined, left, or chosen not to join — and why? What did you contribute? What did you get out of it? So on, so forth.