Secret Diary

Its 3:46 A.M. and I’m sitting in my recliner pecking away on my laptop. Assigned the task of producing a thought-provoking article for our organizational website, I plod along, deleting more words than I allow to remain. The import of what I am doing an ever present burden, I write thoughts that will be read, or at least looked over, by several people, maybe even four.
I’m supposed to be writing a blog. Even old people, such as I, know what a blog is; it’s a web log. Why it’s not called a web log, welog, wlog, web message, or online diary is less clearly understood. I think I’ll title this one SECRET DIARY, probably not though, wouldn’t want to disappoint so many when they learn there’s no sex in it, but then again. Grammar police – If you think, the second sentence of this paragraph should read “old people like me” take it up with Elvis Presley, he sang “a fool such as I” and you didn’t ding him for that.
In my previous blog, I wrote of the enormous possibilities for dissemination of information through social media. I thought I was leading a charge of well-educated people into a new and exciting way of promoting one’s writing.
 Since then, I’ve learned many literate people don’t even check their email regularly. Many don’t FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, or even Link In. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion some intelligent people don’t have cable, broadband, or Wi-Fi in their homes and might not turn on their computers for days at a time! I’ve even heard of a person who still uses a typewriter and pen and paper to write! They don’t use smart phones, Ipads, or Kindles! How do I deal with such an astounding revelation? I must admit, I went through a stage of denial when first confronted with this information. This couldn’t be, not in 2012!
Then I made a discovery that might explain this situation. Libraries and bookstores still exist. People actually go to them, physically, to borrow or buy books. Theaters still exist and people visit them to watch movies. How Quaint!
The literary world is in the midst of a paradigm shift. Some reside in the old, others in the new, and, as always, many haven’t a clue. Who am I to judge which is the better milieu?
I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see the apex of the pendulum swing into modernity. Maybe I should just play it as it lays and do the best I can by interacting with those who use technology; oh, and not use as many clichés and metaphors.

Conference Volunteers and Hotel Information

The deadline for submitting your application to be a volunteer for this year’s conference is fast approaching. There is still time to request and submit an application. Contact me at and I’ll get an application to you as soon as possible.

            As I said in my April 4, blog there are no special requirements to be a volunteer other than being a member in good standing of South Carolina Writers’ Workshop through the end of the conference. For information on your membership renewal date contact Jim McFarlane at

And don’t forget there are discounts for early reservations at our host hotel, the Myrtle Beach Hilton.  We don’t have the reservation code yet; once it’s available, it will be added to the conference area of our website. We ask anyone considering attending the conference please use the code when making their reservation.

The hotel doesn’t charge your credit card when you reserve a room. Your card is only charged when you check-in so reserving early costs you nothing, but it does let the Hilton know that our members are interested in our event. The deadline for receiving the discounted price for your Hilton hotel stay is September 12, 2012.

SCWW Website

The long wait is almost over. The SCWW Board has been planning and saving for a website revamp for almost two years. Hopefully within a few more weeks, we'll unveil a new content-management site that we'll be able to update at will. The address will remain the same, only the appearance will be fresh and new. We'll let you know via FaceBook, Twitter and the Quill when it's up and running.

PS: Don't forget the annual SC Book Festival, May 18-20. Two Master Writing Classes will be offered on Friday, May 18, 2012 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The classes run from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Registration is $35 per person. Topics include the "How to Get Published" with faculty Eric Liebetrau, Elizabeth Keenan, and Signe Pike and "Children's Writing: The Road to Publication" with faculty Kami Kinard. Register and pay online at

The Last Minute

By Martha Greenway, SCWW Contests Chair

I hate to admit it but all too often I live by the adage, “If it weren’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done.” But, you don’t have to live that way! Today is April 8 and you have twenty-two days to submit an entry in the 2012 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards contest.

There are some major changes this year. First, the deadline now coincides with The Petigru Review (March 1 - April 30). Next, the first place award is a full scholarship (including the Friday night banquet) to the Annual Conference in October and the second place winner receives a free 30-minute critique at the Annual Conference plus the Friday night banquet and both first and second place winners will be published in The Petigru Review.

We’re going green, all submissions are electronic. No more printing out four copies of your submission and mailing those heavy packages.

You can submit one each in three genres: First Chapter Novel (up to 3,500 words), Fiction (up to 2,500 words) and Nonfiction (up to 2,000 words). Check out all the guidelines at Click on 2012 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards or SCWW Contests.

Be inspired by the rebirth of spring and create something new or dust off an older manuscript, do a little re-writing if needed but submit.

April showers bring… Conference Volunteers in October?

It’s April. Pollen was floating through the air and coating every surface until the rains came. The azaleas in front of my patio have bloomed. So of course, the bees are all over the place. I’ve turned on my air conditioner. Have I mentioned Columbia is already hot? On Monday, it was 90º and this is only the beginning.

This is spring in the south and these are some of the things we’ve gotten accustomed to dealing with around here.

Another thing I’ve gotten accustomed to in the spring is creating a To-Do List for SCWW.

This year it isn’t a long list:

1) Clean out last year’s stuff – make room for 2012
2) Make list of potential faculty for this year’s conference
3) Do we have enough bags for the conference?
4) Do we still have volunteer buttons from last year?
5) Where are the badge holders and lanyards?
7) Get Volunteers for 2012

On Saturday, I crossed number 6 off my list and found answers to 3, 4 and 5. I spent several hours cleaning out SCWW’s storage unit and making notes and lists for this year.

Now, I’m working on item 7: getting volunteers.

A few weeks ago our Quill special edition came out announcing that we are looking for volunteers. So far the response has been pretty good, but I would like encourage any SCWW member in good standing to apply to be a volunteer at the conference. We don’t require any special skills or talents, just an enthusiasm for SCWW and a desire to help your fellow members have the best conference experience possible.

There are part-time and full-time opportunities available. Both will require the volunteer to work a few hours each day during the conference. Full-time volunteers receive free attendance to the conference while part-time volunteers get a 50% discount on the conference registration cost. All volunteers are responsible for their travel and lodging.

There are some pre-conference opportunities available such as: publicity, gathering items for the silent auction and setting up for the event to name a few. So if you’d rather work during the year leading up to the conference we have that as an option as well.

To request an application send me an email at and I’ll email you back as quickly as I can.

New Is The New Old

My turn has come to write this blog for the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop. I’m new to SCWW and to the Board of Directors. Faced with this task, I have to admit I’m a bit nervous (ask Ginny - thanks for your patience). The fact that I am posting this on April Fool’s Day is also not lost to me. Basically, my jitteriness comes from the fact that I have never written a blog before. No, I don’t live under a rock and I’m not a dinosaur…yet anyway. I just never had the opportunity or the need to write one. I also never felt I had anything awe inspiring to say. Yes, I am a writer. A writer of fiction. My characters have plenty to say. But me? What could I possibly have to say when not hiding behind my pen (laptop) or in my make-believe world? So, I got to thinking about doing new things. The whole concept of new. New according to my Visual Thesaurus means among other things: young, fresh, recent. The word is an adjective, and writers at (nearly) all costs should avoid an adjective, according to many of my writing mentors. But, the definition of the word: come into being, acquired, or discovered; is just too good to avoid as a subject matter.

I’m sitting here on my screen porch smelling fresh (yes, new) jasmine and seeing that the grass is turning green. With buds on the trees and a robin at my bird feeder, it’s clear to me that spring has arrived. Yes, the newness of spring. What was old is new again. Oh, Lord, is that one of those dreaded cliches writers are forewarned against? Adjectives and cliches. What’s next? (Insert gasp here). Well, all of this is necessary for the point I’m trying to make…this past year for me has been about newness.

The end of March marked my one year anniversary. Hard to believe. It stills feels so fresh to me. I moved here from upstate New York. A northern in the south? Nothing new there according to the demographics of my neighborhood, but, having been born and raised in NY, it’s all been a time of discovery for me. 

Okay, so a new home and new State. New accents and new foods to try. And I must admit have tried a lot of food (South Carolina peaches - love ‘em). Something else I discovered is that I love volunteering. The first place I tried was Huntington Beach State Park (HBSP). I do tours there and with that came a whole new bunch of things to learn. Then I started to take courses at Coastal University where I was very lucky to meet a wonderful woman, our own Tibby Plants. Tibby invited me to join SCWW. I did and I as a result, I’ve literally come (back) into being a writer. I have discovered, rediscovered,  and gained many fresh ideas. I can’t begin to thank Tibby enough for her help, her encouragement, and her insight. This may sound odd, but that kind of real dedication and support to help others learn and improve is new to me as well. In fact, the entire Surfside Chapter of my writer’s group has given me so much that my writing feels fresh and new.

That brings me to my next new point. Taking something old and making it new. I have been working seriously on a fictional series for years now. In fact, two of the books were published. Problem was, I was never satisfied with how they turned out, so I got back my rights to the books and began to revise them. I’m much more proud of them now and with the help of my writer’s group, they are shaping into exactly what I hoped. My new goal is to publish them by late summer and, you guessed it, find a new publisher. Notice the theme here?

My other new experience was to volunteer with a theatre group. I had assisted in theatre in upstate NY but I found they weren’t as willing to help me learn. That can sometimes be the problem with acquiring new skills. Sometimes people only want experience and overlook the pure joy of teaching and sharing knowledge. They often forget that we all learn something new everyday. At least I hope so. I have lots of experience in my bag but none of it is perfect. None of what I know is so flawless I can’t learn new things. Anyway, I missed the theatre so I joined the Murrells Inlet Community Theatre (MITC) group and, yes, once more, fell in love. They are a hard working band of people oozing with talent. They have also inspired me to try something else…I would like to write a play. It may or may not go far, but something tells me this band of professionals will help me learn this new skill. Of course, I hope I have the talent, but jitteriness over something new is the old me. This blog has helped me realize that.

So what have I learned? That new isn’t just for the young. I think (cliche alert) you can teach an old dog new tricks and that the old dog can use old tricks to aid them in learning something new. New is an attitude. A desire to redo, undo, and add. It’s an urge to begin…again. Spring does it every year. New growth on an old plant.

New is a journey. It requires an open mind and a degree of courage to let go and simply try. Of course, good friends and good organizations like SCWW, MITC, and HBSP, are great starts.

So what else have I learned? Reach out. Take old likes/loves/interests and find ways to make them new again. Search for a great bunch of people who will help. New doesn’t have to be scary. Look at me. I just completed my first blog. It may not be the best, but I did it and I bet I’ll learn something new from it. The whole point is that in the end, new can make old young again. It really can be a beginning to more new things. Oh, and did I mention? I had a birthday at the end of March. Which, come to think of it, only means I’ll be a new age. I’ve never been fif…er, never mind. Guess I should save that for another blog.