Whether you’re a newcomer or a long time conference attendee, you’re sure to find folks to help you along your creative journey at this year’s SCBWI Southern Breeze WIK! Of course, the speakers and sessions will be amazing. Look at that line-up!
If this is your first conference or if you’ve lost count of how many conferences you’ve attended, think about the benefits of expanding your network of writers and illustrators. I know, I know, sometimes it’s hard to be a new person in a situation where it might seem like everybody knows everybody else, especially if you might be a little on the “shy side.” It can also be a challenge for long time attendees to help newcomers feel at ease in a conference setting, too.
We began something a few conferences ago with a Membership Display and are continuing with this because it seemed to be helpful. There are a few changes, so please take a look!
Here’s how this will work:
Each area has been divided and posted on the Membership Display. Look for the largest major city which is closest to where you live, select the corresponding color slip of paper and put it in your name tag. Then go out there and meet people! If they have the same colored tab in their name tag, chances are they could live somewhere in your area.
SELECT A COLOR CLOSEST TO WHERE YOU LIVE
North Alabama (RED) Huntsville, Decatur, Gadsden, Florence, Hamilton
BIRMINGHAM AREA(S) (YELLOW) Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Talladega, Anniston
Middle Alabama (Yellow) Prattville, Demopolis, Montgomery, Auburn
South and Coastal Alabama (ORANGE) Mobile area, Jackson, Andalusia, Enterprise, Dothan, Troy
North Georgia (Light Green) Rome, Dalton, Canton, Cumming, Gainesville, Dawsonville, Commerce, Athens and all points northward.
ATLANTA AREA(S) (Dark Green) Metro Atlanta area, North and South Atlanta, Decatur area, Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, Conyers, Stone Mountain
Middle Georgia (OLIVE GREEN) Columbus/Pine Mtn area, Macon, Warner Robins, Augusta area
South Georgia (DARK BLUE) Albany, Bainbridge, Moultrie, Valdosta, Ocilla/Tifton
Savannah and Coastal GEORGIA (Turquoise) Statesboro, Waycross, Brunswick, St. Simons, Savannah, Beaufort SC
North FLA and panhandle (Magenta) Pensacola, Tallahassee, Panama City, any of Florida
But what if you are hesitant about meeting people? Not to worry. Southern Breezers are a friendly bunch!
Let’s say you are a first time attendee at a conference. You might get to know six people—three of them are writers and three are illustrators. You get to know what they are working on and share a little bit about yourself and your project(s). Maybe you find other ways to keep in touch through social media. Maybe you attend the next conference, those six people are there and you get to know six more new people.
By the time you have attended several conferences you will have met so many people, learned so much more, and your network will have expanded, like when the rings of a pebble thrown into a pond begin to overlap one other.
If there is not an active Local Liaison close to where you live, consider becoming one yourself. The names and email addresses of Local Liaisons are on the SB webpage. Local Liaisons are volunteers who hold Local Events from time to time. Ask the Regional Advisor, Assistant Regional Advisor(s) or Membership Coordinator to send you information and guidelines about becoming a Local Liaison if you think you would like to participate in this volunteer position.
Some LLs choose to belong to critique groups too, but their main function is to provide opportunities for local members to get together and pass along information. It’s a bit of work, but it’s the FUN kind of work.
See how this works? And anyway you look at it, you will soon begin to develop and expand both your knowledge base of the art and craft of writing/illustrating, along with your network of creatives. Win, win, win!
All my best,
Paula B. Puckett spins stories and yarn. She grows vegetables, frequents flea markets, and makes stuff. She is a retired elementary art educator and a 20+ year member of SCBWI. Follow her on Twitter with @Runswithalpaca or
REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN! CLICK :::HERE:::TO REGISTER!