Shelley Shayner has been making her mark in the writing community for a while. Her writing and artistic talents have found publication in several arenas. WHY? Her imagination expands curiosity and illuminates possibility; just check out her website’s logo as a prime example. In this contributing piece, she tells of her experience at the PWC and why she will be returning this year.
I didn’t know what to expect at a writer’s conference held in the City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love, but I soon discovered there were lots of friendly writers, great classes, and really good coffee. I had learned so much by the end of third day my head was swimming with ideas and information. Yet, there was something else of great value that I had experienced at the PWC: Camaraderie. Now on the surface, that might not seem like much, but a lot of writing is a solitary business. Add to that the thick skin needed to handle critiques and rejection letters, no wonder some days I felt like Red Riding Hood on the road to Grandmother’s Publishing House, only to meet the Big Bad Wolf. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in my writing journey boosted my confidence and gave me the support I was missing.
I made a few contacts at the conference, and many of the classes were fun, as well as informative. It was great to share our experiences and learn of best practices from the instructors. One such experience still inspires me today. I signed up for a Character Development class for Children’s Picture Books. Author and Illustrator, Judy Schachner pulled back the curtain on her creative process by allowing us to see her art journals that were filled with sketches and notes of her upcoming stories and characters. Some journals were for one story only, and other journals were chock full of her ideas, all of which jumped off the page with color and art and words that made me go out and get my own art journal the very next day.
I currently have a story in the works, all because of Judy’s class. That’s just one example at the PWC of a valuable connection I made. There were others. My skills as a writer have also improved, and I just recently got a short story published. They should rename it the Fellowship of Writers Conference, for I certainly felt the brotherly love that weekend. I’ll definitely be coming back.