Established in 1990, the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop is a literary arts organization serving both new and established writers. For more information, consult our Join Us page.
Last month I pursued the question of why this organization exists. Today, I ask why you belong to it, but that is a rhetorical question to which I wish to offer an answer.
You came from multiple routes. Perhaps you have a degree in English, or literature, or journalism, or that holy grail: the MFA in Creative Writing. Or perhaps, like me, you came unanointed from a skill set not classically connected with creative writing, but still you came, with a desire to write. As I said last month, “We [the SCWA] are all writers, you and I.” We came to this organization to become better at it; to rub elbows and listen to the advice of those other people we assume are so far ahead of us, on the journey to publication.
You bit your lip when you first shared your sentences at the writers group table, and grit your teeth as the mourning bell tolled out your transgressions. You could hardly hear the words spoken by the others at the table, because of the blood rushing up for your heart, pounding in your ears. And then one voice among the masters told you it was well written, or your voice was unique and strong, or your sentence about that man standing by the water cooler was vivid. That night you walked back to your car, rewinding and replaying that compliment again and again. Your pace quickened. Your back became straighter, and your smile beamed in the darkness. Yes!
You are better at it now, but still a long way from another Pat Conroy, or that writer you always loved reading. You remember that one? The one that planted the seed in your brain that you could write such a thing. And step by step, you came to realize that you would only bloom in the company of other writers.
Remember that newer us. That newer you, sharing your first piece with strangers. That nerdy me, standing in the corner with glasses ajar and clutching my battered journal to my chest, just below my perfectly arranged pens in my pocket protector. Look around you. Find us. Take us by the hand and introduce us to the others in the SCWA. It will make your life richer. It will make you a better writer. Because then, you must tell us all the things you have learned, since exposing your first project to the others.
Robert F. Lackey
President, Board of Directors for the
South Carolina Writers Association
PS: We are currently updating this website and some pages are not yet fully functional. I apologize for any distraction or disappointment this ‘temporary construction’ may cause.