Typewriter Keys by Peter Lewicki c/o Unsplash
SIWC 2019. The Surrey International Writer’s Conference.
I was a first-time attendee at SiWC this past weekend. It was the second full-weekend writer’s conference I have attended. Let me tell you, if they weren’t so darn expensive I’d be going to them all the time. I get the value for my dollar, don’t get me wrong, but education doesn’t come for free!
You can find a recap from my first festival here.
Back to SIWC 2019. To sit amongst fellow writers, listen to the same words and breathe the same air. We walk away with knowledge that is all our own and ideas that will flow aplenty, exuding inspiration as we exit the building for the final time at the end of the weekend.
It is so priceless.
I went for such a long time before I even realized that there was this community out there. A community of writers to which I belong.
There are so many people that write in the world! Published authors, self or traditional, aspiring writers, those that have written for years and never pursued avenues to get their words out there.
Adventures of a Notebook at SIWC 2019
I opted for the conference basic package, which didn’t include the SIWC 2019 Master Classes or lunches with speakers. I did, however, make it to the conference hall every morning to hear the key note speeches. My favourite was given the morning of the last day by an author named Sonali Dev. Her name and her work were new to me, her books now on my to-read list very soon.
By her own description over the weekend (I attended three different sessions in which she spoke) of her novels, she writes exactly what I want to write. What I anticipate my next books to be. I hope they will be as successful one day! I want to give people hope in love, comfort with happiness and a giggle while I’m at it.
I found Sonali’s keynote speech on the closing day of the conference to be so moving. She started by speaking of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights and how she was not home for this occasion, and was missing time with her family.
Her own father had told her that SIWC 2019 was a great place for her to be if she couldn’t be home. For her work, her passion, her second family. Sonali’s words moved me, as she helped me discover why I write. Why I read. And how words tie us all together.
We write because we refuse to be silenced.
We read because we refuse to allow others to be silenced.
- Sonali Dev
I cried twice during her speech.
It’s been an emotional few months for me. There has been so much going on in my world, I found that I was easily moved to hear the validation I needed for my writing. The validation that I have never been able to find elsewhere, that I’ve searched for, asked for and yearned for over many years. Before I even knew I needed it.
My writing is just that. Mine. My words will always belong to me, especially when they are found between two covers.
But, I have learned, at the very same time I can claim the name on the front of a book or at the bottom of a blog post, my words are also everyone else’s. And I am thankful for that. For my readers, my family, my followers. That take the time out of their days to like a picture or read a post.
I am forever grateful. And I would be nothing without any of you.
That’s not true–I would still be me. And I would still write. But you know what I mean.
Forever a Writer,