Saturday, June 27, 2015

SJWG at the Philadelphia Writers' Conference

Mark Doenges, Gail Priest, Amy Holiday, Mark A. Smith, Betsy Heinz, Dean Dobkin
Several members of the South Jersey Writers' Group attended the writing event of this area - the Philadelphia Writers' Conference. In attendance from our group were president Amy Holiday, Gail Priest, Patti O'Brien, Betsy Heinz, Vincent Sparks, Mark Doenges, Mark A. Smith, new members Frederick Doot from the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers and Dean Dobkin, PWC registrar Jim Knipp, and membership director Glenn Walker. Here's what some of them had to say about the PWC experience:

"The most valuable part of the conference for me was hearing about the successes and struggles other writers and realizing I was not alone. I enjoyed talking with people and hearing about their works and getting to know the folks from SJWG who attended. Thanks to all who made this conference such a success!" ~ Betsy Heinz

"This was my first experience attending the Philadelphia Writers' Conference. I'm grateful for the opportunity to get to better know the other members of the South Jersey Writers' Group better. They made me feel welcome, and we shared a lot of laughs. I met many new people, too. The schedule offered enough free time to chat, network, and support. The energy from everyone was very positive.

"Don Lafferty's Social Media/ Marketing three day workshop was a highlight for anyone fortunate enough to have signed up for it. The wealth of knowledge he shared was inspiring and a bit overwhelming, but his personality made it fun, too.

"Another highlight was the Open Mic during lunch on Saturday. Autumn Stephens Konopka facilitated, and she also set an encouraging and upbeat atmosphere which put people at ease. I enjoyed hearing writers share their work. I felt supported by the audience when I read. There were several authors on the wait list, and by some miracle everyone had a chance to share. I hope they offer two days for the Open Mic next year. I think more people will want to take advantage of the opportunity to read and listen to others.

"Both the Self-Publishing workshop taught by Merry Farmer and the Research workshop taught by Janice Gable Bashman were extremely enjoyable and informative. Both these instructors knew their stuff and how to communicate well. Their students were appreciative.

"Those are just a few of the many highlights. PWC2015 was a great experience for me."
~ Gail Priest

Mark A. Smith and Frederick Doot
"One of my favorite experiences of this past weekend was the opportunity to network and get to know not only others within the Greater Philadelphia Writers Community but the folks that are members of the SJWG. I knew most of the folks from the meetings but it was just recognizing who they are and a brief hello and goodbye. Having our 'own' table or meeting spot was great because I really had some good conversations and got to know the members of our group a little bit better.

"I thought the seminars, the speakers and the whole 'vibe' of the conference was a positive experience that has definitely given me an incentive to keep writing and working harder to improve my writing. The speakers were extremely helpful and informative. Since this was my first writing conference I have ever attended, the bar has been set and it is high. After all, what better place to start than Philadelphia and the longest running writers conference in the country?

"As we say in Boston, 'that is my story and I am sticking to it!'"
~ Mark A. Smith

" When I woke up Monday morning my brain hurt from knowledge absorption, but I was exhilarated. It felt appropriate, because I attended the 67th Annual Philadelphia Writers’ Conference this past weekend. There was much to learn, and I soaked it up.

"As a scholarship winner and first time attendee, I knew it would be a good place to network and meet other writers. What I discovered was so much more than I anticipated. From Friday through Sunday, there were opportunities to learn, share, discuss and explore a ton of information about the art of writing.

"Sitting in a conference room of peers at all different stages in their careers, with the common goal to learn, was inspiring. At last, I felt established and validated as a professional. Although writing is a very solitary process, it is great to know that from published author to novice, we all struggle with similar issues.
"The conference schedule allowed me to choose what workshops best served my particular interests. I attended outstanding sessions on developing social media skills, plotting and outlining your novel and self-publishing essentials. 
  •  I’ve learned that I don’t know enough about metadata and marketing myself, but now I have resources.  
  • Book Architecture is an excellent way to plot my work and that I’m a “Pantser” – I write by the seat of my pants without a written outline. 
  • Self-publishing is on the rise, and Smashwords is my friend. 
Mark Doenges, John Fahl, Amy Holiday, Vince Sparks, Gregg Feistman, Patti O'Brien
"I emerged from the conference with valuable information and solid resources. Also, having a chance to connect with fellow members of South Jersey Writers’ Group was a bonus. Being together gave everyone a chance to get to know each other better. We discussed our work, shared stories, had lunch and chilled with a few drinks.

"I certainly look forward to attending the conference again, and would urge everyone looking to perfect their craft to add it to their calendars. There’s nothing like the support of other writers to remind you to just keep writing. 'Get out of your head and put it on the page - WRITE.'"
~ Vince Sparks

The Philadelphia Writers' Conference was a whirlwind of excitement, information, and networking. If you're a writer in this area and haven't attended, you have no idea how much you're missing. This is the best writing opportunity around. Make your plans for next year as soon as possible!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks everyone for making the Philadelphia Writers Conference a memorable experience. Glenn, thanks for putting our reflections together so nicely. :)


Leave a comment!