Saturday, June 27, 2009

Write! Canada 2009

Hubby and I got back early yesterday morning from a trip to the Toronto area. We took the trip in conjunction with Write! Canada, the annual writer's conference put on the The Word Guild. (E. also wanted to take a sentimental journey back to Toronto where he spent four years of his career in financial services.)

We arrived late Tuesday afternoon (the 16th) and in good time to attend the awards gala on the 17th, the night before the conference began. I got to present the poetry prizes sponsored by Utmost Christian Writers. Here I am presenting the Award of Merit to Lori Wiens-MacDonald. (Marcia Lee Laycock won the Word Guild Award for her poem "Dying to Live," published by Utmost.)

The conference ran from 2:00 p.m. on the 18th to 5:00 p.m. on the 20th. I had signed up for Chip MacGregor's continuing class, which was fabulous. If you read his blog, you'll be aware he knows writing, agenting and publishing inside and out, upside and down. His lectures were full of common sense and wisdom on how to build a successful writing career, even under the current changing conditions (each session laced with his quick wit of course).

Here's a sampling of some of the things he told us -- this particular list delivered at breakneck speed to fit into the four minutes each speaker-expert was alotted during a symposium about the future of publishing: "Where will we be in five years?"

I taught a workshop on Friday afternoon. It went okay, I think...

A highlight for me was interviews with the pros. Because we were advised to schedule these in advance, I had given them some thought -- to the extent of putting notes on paper. I'm so glad I did because I was able to get right to business and not waste any of those precious 15 minutes.

I met with Stephen Kennedy, editor of testimony, my denomination's publication. He remembered me and that I had recently submitted an article. From him I got some tips about the kinds of articles he's looking for.

I also met with Steve Barclift, an editor at Kregel, and came away with an invitation to submit two proposals!

Finally, I must tell you about the plenary talks, given by Audrey Dorsch and Brian Stiller (I missed the last one by Ray Wiseman; I'm sure it was excellent as well) packed with stories and inspiration. Some gems from Stiller's talk:

"If you have a desire to write, you probably can write.

"In the development of your writing material, let the brew be heated by the Spirit. Don't be in a hurry to get everything on the page. Test your ideas. Allow them to percolate and refine.

"Learn from others. Borrow shamelessly.

"Writers transform by breaking down defenses. They open windows and doors for people. We write in secret and our writing is read in secret. The Holy Spirit is the agent God uses. We are dependent on the Spirit both for the writing and its application."

...he said so much good stuff, I bought the CD. (More from Brian Stiller here.)

Unfortunately I got sick on Saturday morning and had to leave early, before I got a chance to talk to others I had hoped to connect with. I didn't even get to say goodbye. That's the way the stomach turns I guess.


Cathi-Lyn Dyck said...

Oh, wow, that last Stiller quote is a lifetime keeper. Thanks for sharing. I didn't know there were CD's available...of the conference, or from the faculty individually?

violet said...

Cathi, just follow the link "bought the CD" and email the recording company for an order form. That will give you a list of CDs available. It looks like they're selling the individual workshops for $10 each, the continuing sessions (a total of six) as a set for $45.

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