Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 SCWW Conference Review: My Perspective

By Ginny Padgett

October 21-23, 2011 was the date of the 21st annual SCWW Writers’ Conference. As SCWW President, Conference Co-Chair and conference volunteer, I have a behind-the-scenes perspective on the conference.

As the conference ended on Sunday, I heard enough feedback to say with reasonable certainty that it was a good one. Many conference goers told me that this year's was one of the best, citing our excellent faculty. We have Carrie McCullough, Conference Chair, to thank for that - along with just about every other detail pertaining to planning this event.

The conference wouldn’t have been as successful without the efforts of Kia Goins, Conference Co-Chair, and Kim Blum-Hyclak, Silent Auction Chair. They worked like Trojans to make Conference 2011 an enjoyable, informative, seamless and financially-viable endeavor.

Then there are the 20 volunteers that gave up a good portion of their conference time to insure that attendees and faculty were comfortable and on time to their specific sessions and appointments. This was accomplished with smiles and enthusiasm. In addition, there were many unnoticed chores shouldered by these members.

After the last session on Sunday morning, a 19-year-old man stopped to pass on his thanks to SCWW and our annual conferences. He said he had been attending them since he was 15 years old and owed his writing career to SCWW.

Later, I asked an attendee as she was leaving if she'd enjoyed her weekend. She paused at the door, placed a hand over her heart and with a blissful expression sighed, “I have been inspired.”

Here’s a quote from an email I received Monday morning following the conference. “I sat beside a writer from NY Saturday night and I asked him how he discovered our conference. He found it online, a site that reviewed conferences in the USA and ours was listed as NUMBER ONE!”

Also, I spoke with an attendee the next day who said, “I am busy putting to work some of the things I learned this past weekend. I expect better results than I’ve had.”

And lastly, I received this email from Sorche Fairbank of Fairbank Literary and 2011 faculty member.
I want to extend a quick and heartfelt thanks once again for inviting me to be a part of your conference. I participate in six to eight conferences each year , and while I almost always enjoy them and find them worthwhile, it's been a long time since I've been to one that left this much of an impression on me. It was top notch all around, both for presenters and for attendees. Truly, not many conferences have such heart and soul, professionalism, and value. Your selection of speakers/agents/faculty was fabulous (even I left energized!), the attendees were open to suggestions and very eager to learn, there was a feeling of respect and excitement over being in the world of books and writing -- and none or very little of the doom and gloom that is present at so many conferences.

So from my perspective, the 2011 SCWW Writers’ Conference was a brilliant success.