Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Exciting New Member News!

Patrick Hempfing's moMENts column was published in the July issues of Pennsylvania's About Families, North Carolina's Carolina Parent, Idaho Family, Sonoma Family Life, South Florida Parenting, Texas's Suburban Parent, and Western New York Family magazines. He has also reached 57 followers on Twitter

Erika Hoffman's essay, "Biggest Obstacle," will appear in the August issue of South Carolina's Sasee Magazine

Roy Richardson was on The Writing Well, a literary blog run by fellow author Anne Wainscott-Sargent celebrating "excellence in writing and story-telling," and an excerpt from his short story collection, "Hillbillies Prefer Blondes," was also featured. 

If you have any member news, feel free to email us about your accomplishments! Also, if you'd like to include your social media information, we will link to you as well. We hope everyone is having a fun and productive July! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Save the Date!

2015 marks the Southeastern Writers Association's 40th year!  

★☆★  40 years of "Writers Helping Writers!"  ★☆★

We're celebrating next year and we've already begun planning!

The 2015 SWA Writers Workshop will be 
June 19-23, 2015 at Epworth by the Sea
on St. Simons Island, GA.
The Fiction mini-workshop will be June 20-21.
The Nonfiction mini-workshop will be June 22-23.

So mark your calendars and save the date!
We want to see you there!

Monday, July 7, 2014

ReBlogs: When Is It Too Much?

(from MakerGoddess, Feb 21, 2014)

A once popular British TV comedy show featured a pair of characters who seem to be the best of friends. One is in a wheel chair and seems not only physically, but also mentally disabled. The friend is ever so obligingly taking care of him in each skit. The disabled character would make a choice about something (a trip, a book, a holiday destination, whether or not to go to the bathroom at a more convenient time). The friend would then proceed to gently attempt to persuade the man away from the undesired choice and guide him back toward a more reasonable choice. Always the one in the wheelchair stuck to his guns on the inappropriate choice so his friend eventually gave in. Yet every time the decision was carried out you’d see the one in the wheelchair saying he didn’t really want his choice but rather what the friend suggested. And of course the friend always fixed it. Well nearly always. He couldn’t quite change the holiday destination once the airplane was already taking off.

While this makes for great comedy, I wonder, what if this were a real relationship? Would the friend continue to do things with/for the disabled person? Would the friend ever decide to stop arguing with him and just let him lie in the bed he made, accepting his own consequences? When would the friend finally say, “I’ve had enough.” and just walk away.

I recently met a very nice young lady in the beginning years of her career. (Remember recently is always going to be a relative term with me.) She liked her profession but wasn’t very happy in her job and wondered if it would be worth it to make a change, to another location or a different position. She had come under new management at the beginning of the year and thought she might give it a bit longer, just to see if the fresh new blood made her work environment and the job any better. I commend her for wanting to see how the land lies for now, but how long will she wait?

I was there too. Giving just one more reason to stay, and did so for about three years. Finally, I took the plunge and began applying for other positions within my field.

That was scary; I won’t lie about that. I had been in the same position at the same location for eight years! The idea of being anywhere else, doing anything different, actually having to commute, was never entertained. Yes it was a dream come true to have just a one-mile commute! But as the years wore on, and my work environment deteriorated, so sank my acceptance level. Being just a song away from my job became the only good thing I could say about it.

My problem was that I was stuck in a rut of my own making. As a friend of mine once pointed out, I clung to the security of the familiar. Sure that place, that job, stunk to no end, but it was a known odor. If I moved, if I made any waves at all, would I find the same stink or one more foul? Mr. Murphy and I have a complicated relationship. He doesn’t mind and I don’t seem to matter. So his law of things going wrong applies to me categorically. I was just too afraid to take that risk. 

Risk nothing gain nothing, though.

I had to leave the security of my familiar when making not one but two changes in my career this school year as it turns out. That was terrifying! But the rewards far outweighed the momentary discomfort I felt in making the change. The best part was that the second decision to make a change was actually easier for this old scaredy cat. And I made it relatively quickly.

I am now doing a job in a much more conducive environment. So what if my commute is over 20 miles now. At least now as I advance forward in my career I am encouraged that taking such risks are going to not only become easier and easier but also I will be a much happier, more productive individual in the end.

My favorite teacher Ms. Frizzle always says, “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy.” Fabulous advice if you ask me. Well, except the messy bit, unless you are very near a shower.

~~Dawn Burr

Dawn is a teacher by profession but a writer by passion. Her sarcastic wit, innocent charm, and insightful reflections will have you bowled over with laughter as she ponders with you the little things in life that make you go hhhmmmm. Learn more about Dawn on her website: Dawn Burr Writes or on her blog: MakerGoddess.

Monday, June 30, 2014

EditorialLee Speaking

I couldn't have hired a playwright to script it any better. Our 2014 SWA workshop was everything I hoped it could have been and a whole lot more. We filled up the seats, mostly with new attendees. We dazzled everyone with brilliant instructors, and most of the newbies were saying they couldn't wait to come back next year. We have some younger people accepting positions of responsibility on the Board of Directors. I believe SWA's future is very secure.

That wasn't the case not so long ago. While we had a cash reserve that could carry us forward for a couple of years no matter how great the failures, we were in a downturn. Our membership was down. Our Board of Directors was dwindling, and while we were almost begging for more bodies, our requests, for the most part, went unanswered. Workshop attendance was barely bringing in break-even revenue, if that. A couple of times we pondered if we might have reached the end of the line.

Now with a positive cash flow from our most recent workshop, an energized "fan base" of new attendees who will be back, hopefully with their friends, and some younger blood sitting in the Board of Directors' seats, the end of the line has been pushed well into the future.

All this happened as Kay Eaton and I served our last tenures on the Board. Kay was one of those who answered the call when we were in dire need of people a few years ago. She helped hold SWA together with the important registrar duties. Relocation to Florida has dictated that she step down from her duties, but we still expect her to show up each June at St. Simons.

As to that other guy who's stepping aside, I'll still show my face at St. Simons as well. The ThomasMax "You Are Published" Contest -- which received the highest number of entries and best competition we've ever had in 2014 -- will continue so there's still a book deal to be had. I've made a lot of comments about my retirement, and all of them have been honestly from the heart. There DOES come a time when everyone needs to step aside and let others bring something new to the show. George Washington DID indeed say eight years was enough. But mostly it's been health issues, specifically pain management, that sparked my decision. I've tried to keep that under the rug (and think I've been pretty successful at it), and now you've just read all I'm going to say about it here. 

But I do have a little more to say before I run into the sunset. I am quite proud of the service I've given to SWA. I've received several post-workshop notes and thank-you cards. One said, "Someone asked me the other day what I do. I said, 'I am a writer.' And that's all because of my years at SWA that I could say that." While there were personal accolades in that note, the thing that touched me is that I know I made a difference. And that's why I signed up for the volunteer job in the first place.

My last night as SWA President (let's pretend the meeting the next morning didn't happen) was amazing. My good friend Darrell Huckaby -- I met Huck as a result of SWA -- asked if he could come and entertain at our Awards Ceremony. Anyone in his right mind would say yes, and luckily I was in my right mind the day he asked. And I got this inspired idea to buy torches to pass to the new board members (at least those of which I was aware at the time) as a fitting ritual. Then I was blown away with the going-away gift the board gave me . . . a photo of the Braves' locker room (it's no secret I'm a rabid Braves fan) with my name awarded one of the lockers there. No. 8 -- for eight years of service, four as President and four as VP. I felt truly honored at that moment. I've seen former SWA Presidents with many more years than me retire with a simple "thank-you" certificate or plaque . . . or less. 

I haven't yet chosen the spot in my house where it will hang, but it will certainly be a spot of honor. Every time I look at it, I am humbled by the notion that I was held in such esteem by my peers. I know it wasn't cheap, and you really shouldn't have . . . but I'm thrilled that you did. Thank you from every fiber of my being.

And thank you, SWA, for giving me the chance to make a difference. I'll remember THAT every time I look at that picture, too.

~~ Lee Clevenger

Lee is 2-time President of SWA, an author and co-founder of ThomasMax Publishing in Atlanta, GA.