Last year for my birthday, my husband paid for my membership with Romance Writers of America (RWA). I was very excited to become part of their organization. I've heard such great things about them. Annual dues are expensive (for me), but if I asked for it every year for my birthday, it would work out. Now as the year goes by, I will not be renewing my membership.
There are two reasons for this: I have neither the time nor the money to fully take advantage of what RWA offers.
IF you have the time and money, you can benefit from membership. They have tons of online workshops, but they cost money. I've heard the conventions are incredible, but they're a lot of money. The contests introduce new writers to agents and publishers, but they have entry fees. I've heard a lot of success stories from authors who've won RWA contests.
It'll cost $95 dollars to renew my membership. I've gotten nothing out of it this past year except a subscription to the Romance Writers Report (RWR) and a monthly newsletter. I've enjoyed both, but that's all I've gotten out of my membership other than saying that I'm a member. Has that benefited me? I don't know. I'm sure some folks are impressed to see I'm a member, but it's only because I paid for it.
To join the local chapter of RWA, it would be another $50 every year. I wouldn't be able to get to the meetings since they're too far away nor would I have the time to go to the conventions.
IF you have the time and money, and you're serious about a career as a romance writer, I would suggest becoming part of RWA. You do get many benefits non-members don't get. Conventions, dues, contests, and workshops are expensive. At least to a family that must watch every dollar they are. I would enjoy all those privileges IF I had the time and money. Perhaps one day I will, and I would happily become a member again, but I haven't benefited from my membership at this time. I have to pass on it for now.
Have you considered membership with RWA? Or if you're already a member, have you benefited from joining?