I love SCBWI! If you’ve met me, you probably already knew that. It’s been a whirlwind romance for me. I joined SCBWI in 2013 and immediately started attending events. A few months later, I met Kim Briggs at the Winter conference in NYC and expressed an interest in volunteering. First, Kim suggested I write an article for the blog. Then the team asked me to organize the Peer CAT at the Pocono Retreat. Soon after, I became the chapter’s critique group coordinator. In 2016, I had the pleasure of working with Adrienne Wright to plan illustrator events and started organizing bi-monthly meet & greets in Bucks County with author Anita Nolan. This is the way it works with non-profits. Get your foot in the door, do a good job and they’ll ask you to do more. (Seriously that’s the way it works!)
When I became the illustrator coordinator last fall, Heather Pierce Stigall became the chapter’s critique group coordinator. I know Heather is going to do a bang-up job because she and I have been in a critique group together since December 2014. Heather is everything a critique partner should be: dedicated, invested, ambitious, thorough, well-read, supportive, and kind. I hope you get a chance to meet her! If you’re not in a critique group already, definitely contact Heather and ask her about the advantages of sharing your work with others. I bet she’ll be mighty persuasive.
Critique groups offer writers and illustrators an opportunity to socialize with like-minded souls, but they’re not the only way to connect with members. We can also attend meet & greets. Meet & greets are free, casual events organized by a chapter member. They usually last about two hours and can be held in a coffee shop, ice cream parlor, bookstore, art center, or any place that is willing to have you. Meet & Greets are a lot of fun! Going forward, Heather will be the chapter’s Meet & Greet Liaison as well. (See how that works? Just like I said!)
If you’d like to join or start a critique group or organize a Meet & Greet, please contact Heather Pierce Stigall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leading a critique group or organizing a meet & greet is a great way to get your foot in the door!