A Volunteer's Perspective

This post was written by writer and uber-volunteer Yilin Wang.

You can check out Yilin's writing blog here at yilinwriter.wordpress.com, as she carries on her adventures attending university in Edinburgh this fall!

SIWC: A Volunteer’s Perspective

Yilin Wang

When I stepped into the ­­­­main ballroom on the Friday morning of the 2012 SIWC conference for Jane Espenson’s opening keynote, I saw an amazing sight: a crowded room with hundreds of writers talking about the ups and downs of the writing life, their latest writing projects, their favourite books, their hopes and dreams. I had never seen so many writers together, never seen so much energy and passion for the written word. Ever since I attended the 2008 SIWC on Young Writers Day, I have wanted to become more involved with the conference. Finally, after years of procrastination (and regretting after each conference weekend passed), I took the plunge and returned as a volunteer, assisting with social media and shadowing Ursula-Lewis Maxwell as a photographer.

Over the next three days, I strolled around the conference rooms and hallways, drifting from workshops to events, observing, learning, and recording everything with a camera and pen. I cheered with attendees at the SIWC idol, watched writers step forward excitedly to pitch their projects, heard the delighted cries of attendees as they got their books signed by favourite authors.

The highlight of my volunteer experience was meeting many friendly writers.  I ran into writing friends and met others from across North America and the UK. I shadowed Ursula, who gave me insightful tips on event photography and introduced me to various speakers. I attended panels on the writing craft and publishing industry, chatted with writers and volunteers.

Jane, a front desk volunteer, said she also liked the environment at SIWC. “I enjoy networking with writers and being with people who are likeminded.”

Sarah, another volunteer, agreed. “It’s one of my favourite weekends in the year. I love the energy and helping the writers.”

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity,” said Bernice Lever, one of the poetry judges for the SIWC Writing Contest and an avid volunteer over the years. “Especially for people who are writers themselves or as readers can meet favourite authors. You can see international people from North America and enjoy talents from people beyond your local group.”

In 2012, over 70 volunteers work together at the conference, helping with tasks like registration, appointments, banquets, and workshops. If you want to be a part of a passionate community and help make the next conference a success, you can apply through the online contact form on the volunteer page.