SpecFicNZ Padawan Position: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

As many of you know, SpecFicNZ founder and current President, Ripley Patton, has moved back to the States and will not be running for president at our yearly AGM this August, though she is willing to stay on the committee in a consulting capacity.

This means the office of the presidency will be open for someone new and fresh and eager to take up such an amazing opportunity.

And that is exactly what the presidency of SpecFicNZ is–an amazing opportunity to network with the entire speculative fiction community of New Zealand. An opportunity to grow your leadership skills and have an impressive volunteer experience on your resume or query letter. An opportunity see the impact of speculative fiction on your country unfold right before your very eyes. The opportunity to make a difference.

Now, we realize that taking on such a roll may seem daunting (like lifting an X-wing out of a swamp), but it actually isn’t as hard as it sounds.

First, the President never has to work alone. SpecFicNZ has an amazing committee of officers and general members, as well as a membership that is always eager to help.

Second, Ripley has provided a job description below that gives a detailed account of what the job entails and how long it takes.

Finally, the committee has decided to invite any member interested in the presidency to join the committee in an apprenticeship or training capacity (we like to call it a Padawan position) for the rest of this year (May-August) so you can see exactly what you’re in for.

If you think you might be interested in checking out this opportunity of a lifetime, simply e-mail us at [email protected] with the subject heading Padawan. Oh, and don’t forget to read the job description below.

May the force be with you.

SpecFicNZ Presidential Job Description

Daily Tasks (total 30 minutes)

  1. Check the SpecFicNZ website and e-mail daily and respond to any e-mail needing presidential attention, occasionally forwarding e-mail to the Treasurer, Webmaster, or Secretary for attention by them, though they usually check in regularly too.  This usually takes anywhere from 5-30 minutes.

Weekly Tasks (total 60 minutes)

  1. SpecFicNZ website maintenance. I like to look at the Clicky Stats to see what kind of traffic we’re getting. See what’s new. I check in on the Twitter and Facebook accounts, etc. Basically checking the pulse of the org. I also post any publication news I’ve gleaned from my many writing lists and forums. If there are any technical issues, I sent that on to the Webmaster. This usually takes anywhere from 20-60 minutes.

Monthly Tasks (No more than 8 hours)

  1. Skim Read member blogs for news and info. This is the major way I get announcements and publication posts for the website though occasionally someone will send one via e-mail. Sometimes I’ll leave a comment if something strikes me. This is the way I keep the pulse of the members. This takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
  2. Schedule, plan and chair the monthly committee meeting. This involves writing the agenda a week ahead and sending it out via e-mail with a meeting reminder (takes 30-60 minutes). The chairing of the meeting itself takes 90mins to 2 hours.
  3. Check in with the local area meet-up coordinators by e-mail just to see how they are doing. (15 minutes).
  4. Other monthly tasks include items needing presidential attention as determined by the committee meeting. This year these have included: Seeking new meet-up coordinators, contacting editors and publishers about contests, posting discussion to the google group for committee discussion, calling emergency e-mail votes, helping determine a budget and yearly event schedule, encouraging other committee members to run with great ideas like Catherine Ford’s Flights of Fancy, and writing this job description. (Time spent probably 3 hours a month or so).


Overarching Tasks:

The main job of the president is not in time spent or tasks ticked off a box. Instead, it is to help guide the direction of the org to meet its stated goals and objectives, build itself as a national and professional writers’ association, and serve the membership.

This requires leadership skills, the ability to delegate, creativity, time management, idea generation, networking (this one is huge), public relations and a vision and passion to see speculative fiction writers supported in New Zealand. The SpecFicNZ President also needs to have familiarity with how an Incorporated Society Works and what our legal obligations are (mainly keeping a registered office, a society seal and filing taxes and an annual financial report) the SpecFicNZ Constitution, and our Seven driving goals as an org.

The job is fairly heavy on work load at the beginning of the year when the budget and schedule are being determined. I believe this will become easier each year as we are able to build on what was done the year before. However, we do need TO BUILD on what was done the year before, not just skate along on past idea or events. Each year we should be adding benefits and opportunities for our membership and the NZ speculative community at large. I see this as the main overarching task of the president- pushing and promoting the vision of the org and helping make it a reality.


  1. No pay but it looks great on a resume, query letter, in a writing bio, on a website or blog. Being the Prez of a national writing association gets mad props in the writing world.
  2. Networking. An old saying in the publishing industry is, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” As the President of SpecFicNZ, you will find yourself contacting and getting to know people in the industry you never would have had the opportunity (or guts) to approach as an individual. SpecFicNZ is fast becoming a well- known entity in New Zealand. Harper Collins subscribes to our newsletter. We have international agents and editors and publishers as members. Connecting to these people and having them know you as the SpecFicNZ president will undoubtedly impact the course of your writing career in the future.
  3. Seeing Members Served. Every member comment,  e-mail or blog post mentioning how SpecFicNZ has encouraged, supported, and connected our membership is a thrill for the President. You get to see on a regular basis how this org has built the community of writers in NZ and that, my friends, is priceless.
  4. Seeing Speculative Fiction Grow. This year one of our members (Helen Lowe) received a Creative Writing Residency traditionally reserved for more “literary” writers. Thanks to Catherine Ford, we added a Speculative Fiction Event to New Zealand Book Month (also traditionally lacking in genre events). Movement is happening toward a more productive, inclusive climate in NZ toward speculative fiction work and writers. We are helping do that, and I think that is something to be proud of.
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