DSCN0001Sometimes you have to blow stuff up in order to fix it.

Prior to our disbanding, IHW had gotten to a point where the group had forgotten what it was about.  Mission drift is a common problem for organizations.  A group can start off with a common set of goals and principles, but somewhere along the way, whether it is chasing greater numbers, pursuing money or marketing, or simply any other agenda, it loses sight of what it set off to do.  The group loses the dream of who they were and what they wanted to be.

Many of the IHW members, among them many of the founding members, found ourselves kind of stuck and resigned out of sheer frustration.  Sometimes groups or friends are meant to be together only for a season.  It reminded me of something I wrote a long time ago:  “Splits happen.  Sometimes they can’t be helped. Sometimes no one’s at fault. Sometimes the relationship’s time has passed. Sometimes the people you love simply can’t get along anymore.  Every time … it hurts.”

There’s mission drift and there’s a change in focus or a re-prioritization. Not all change is bad and sometimes communities need to accept that’s what they are now and strike a new vision.  We let some time pass to let the heat of the situation and feelings cool off a bit before we tried to figure out what the next steps were going to be.  The time apart allowed us to try to figure some things out.  Like if we needed to be a group, if so, what we wanted to be about, how we wanted to operate, and what we wanted the group’s image to be.

DSCN0003Here’s what we decided:  we would return to our roots.  Be an informal organization (not a chapter of any group and without “officers”).  We would go back to being relationship focused.  Meeting in each other’s homes and being friends that support each other.  Writing is a solitary enough pursuit and it’s good to have friends that understand that, spur each other along, and be there for one another.  We’re not a group to be used as a marketing tool or driven to grow our membership to be a promotional vehicle.  We’ll simply grow at the speed of relationships.

As for our name, we thought about going the way of the Garden State Horror Writers who rebranded themselves the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers to reflect that they were writing more than just horror.  We also consider ourselves a sister organization to COFFEE! (Central Ohio Fabulous Fiction, Everybody! Excellent!), but CIFFEE doesn’t have the same ring.  So even though we’re a collection of speculative fiction writers, ISFW doesn’t do it for us.  Besides, we’re attached to the name IHW.

So we’re back.

(And obviously the community demands that we reclaim our name, thus the tagging of a nearby mall)