Returning to the Southeastern Writers Workshop was delightful especially because I attended with my 16 year old daughter, Daisy. I was much more relaxed this year than the last because I knew what to expect. SWA is a welcoming group of writers. Their motto is "Writers helping writers."
Gail Karwoski was so enjoyable to listen to in class and out. She has written handfuls of children's books and shared all about how to pitch them to publishers. I especially liked her comment, "Write like a reader." Her excitement is infectious.
One class I didn't want to miss was the hilarious Reed Farrel Coleman. He talked about the craft and had a lot of funny things to say about the industry, writing, and the fact that we are in the entertainment industry. "There is no such thing as Writer's Block." He may have said it a bit intensely with a few colorful words mixed in. But his point was clear. Policemen don't go to work and say, "Oh I have Police Block."
Lee Gimenez gave us gobs of information about marketing and social media. It was to see the options for promoting books and getting my name out there.
I think what I love the most about this five day workshop is the chance to sit among the teachers/speakers at meal time and talk all about writing, publishing and everything in between. I soaked up Sheree Bykofsky's every word. She is so knowledgeable about the publishing world. Her keynote sessions were especially enjoyable because of her experiential exercises. She critiqued our Query Letters on the spot. She had us write and verbally pitch our books in front of the class. And the last night she shared how finding a publisher is much like preparing to try out for Wheel of Fortune.
The Open Mic Night came all too quickly, but I got up there with my young adult novel and read about my teenage Ledger having an epic fail to a bunch of adults. I may have made them cringe a little. It was so exciting!
To wrap up the five-day workshop was the awards night. My daughter won an award for her novel NATURE'S HEIR. I submitted one of my chapters for the short speculative fiction category and won FIRST place! I couldn't believe it. What an honor. Makes me want to hurry up and get WINGBOUND published, then keep on writing.
I'm thankful for the Southeastern Writers Workshop. (It has thrived 42 years!) I hope each year gets better and better. This year I went with an idea of where I am going next. Even though I lost sight of it for a moment, I had a revelation and now I'm on the right path. That path is self-publishing WINGBOUND. Let's do this!