The South Carolina Writers’ Association Board met for lunch a couple of weeks ago to go over old business and to discuss current and future events. I’m not the secretary and wasn’t taking notes, but I’m enthusiastic about the organization and want to share a few thoughts and memories.
To me the most exciting topics we discussed afternoon were (1) the Big Dream Conference in Pawleys Island, SC on October 27-29 and (2) the Petigru Review.
The Big Dream Conference promises to be inspiring, instructional, and exciting. Fun, too. Not only will attendees have an opportunity to learn more about the craft of writing, but they’ll also get to mix and mingle with other authors and to pitch their work to an agent. There are a total of eighteen (repeat, eighteen) classes to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. Check out the website at http://www.myscwa.org/2017-conference/ for more details.
From what I heard from the editors of The Petigru Review, a journal created as a forum to give members an opportunity to publish their best works, this year’s selection process is especially competitive. From the website, “Every journal has guest judges who pick only the most polished and promising pieces for publication. Only those works the judges deemed worthy of publication are published.” I might add that while most people who submit poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are members of SCWA, many are not. Membership is not a requirement.
A few Board members had to leave the meeting early to meet with a chapter in Columbia. Three of us stayed behind and had a delightful conversation. I jotted down a quote from a young enthusiastic member and have thought of it almost daily since then: “Every tradition has its blessings and its curses. Deal with the blessings only.” I agree for the most part. I try to concentrate on the blessings and give the curses short shrift.
I also learned the origins of voodoo and hoodoo and heard the expression, “The medium is the message” for the first time. Still pondering that one. The three of us shared ideas from our favorite books on writing* and reluctantly left Panera an hour later. As I drove home, I thought for the hundredth time how much being a part of a writing group has helped me. My local writer friends don’t always tell me what I want to hear, but they always tell me what I need to hear, and they have never steered me wrong.
If you’re a writer, consider joining the organization. There’s likely a chapter within thirty miles of where you live, and if not, well, maybe you could create one. Whether your writing consists of journaling, story telling, poetry, essays……whatever, there are people who could help you by critiquing your work, offering tips, and encouraging you. And you could do the same for them.
In the meantime, take a look at the conference page and consider joining us at the beach this fall!
- *Ron Carlson Writes a Story, Ron Carlson
- Bird by Bird, Ann Lamott
- Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg