Saturday, August 31, 2013

Writer's Tools - Part 4

Book festivals highlight all types of writing genres. There truly is something for everyone at a book festival from the beginner to the advanced writer.

Book festival's also encompass the reader with many sessions where authors and poets read their work. What better place for a writer to be, whether they are presenting or just in attendance, than surrounded by READERS!

I'm lucky. The state of South Dakota's Humanity Council throws a great bash at their Festival of the Book. There are activities for children in addition to children's authors who host tea parties. There are writing classes for a nominal fee that cover everything from starting your manuscript to marketing it. In addition, one entire day is devoted to free sessions with over twenty authors in various genres and various stages of their careers.

You can check South Dakota's festival out here:

There is a National Festival of the Book held in Washington, D. C. (see the link below). To check to see if your state hosts book festival, simple check your state's Humanity Council's website and make plans to attend. You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Writing Tool - Part 3 1/2!

Since I'm having trouble posting to blogger from my laptop, this blog is in continuation of last weeks blog.

I was on a writing retreat last week in St. Ansgar, Iowa. It's a lovely small town with just the right amenities for a writing retreat. Most of my time was spent in the smaller house, however I spent one night in the main bed & breakfast at the Blue Bell Inn. It's a lovely Victorian and all of the rooms are decorated to a theme in a children's book. I stayed in Plum Creek and have never seen so many old issues of that book!

Now, for me a retreat is different than a writing conference. I use a retreat to actually get work on a manuscript accomplished. THAT is the focus of a writing retreat, brain storming a book, working on a proposal or rough draft, polishing up a finished get the picture you're away from your normal routine or responsibilities so all you do is focus on your writing.

I managed to add over 4200 words to the rough draft of my contracted book. To be honest, I'd planned for more, but my editor asked me to tweak a proposal that I also worked on during that time.

Now, if you can't afford to go away for a retreat, there are ways to accomplish this at home. Chose a weekend and notify your family that it's designed for your writing. Cook meals ahead of time or plan to use your crockpot for meals or better yet, order in!

If you think you'll be disturbed or distracted at home, chose an alternative place to actually write, a coffee shop, the library or even a park.

This was my first 'retreat' away from home. It won't be my last! Have you went on a writer's retreat either traveling to on or at home? Please feel free to share your experience.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Writer Tools - Part Two

Serious writers need to strive to improve their craft. Last week I talked about writing magazines, those specific to the genre that you write and those that cover the general market. Both have benefits and tips to help you build your career.

The same is true of writer's conferences. If your budget permits, you should try to attend two a year, one that covers various types of writing, the other should be specific to the genre that you write. Now, that advice is sometimes easier said than done! The area that I live in it's hard to find writing conferences that are close for my romance writing. For my children's writing, we have a wonderful regional SCBWI chapter. So, I usually budget for a large two to three day conference for my romance writing, and find a smaller one day conference close to home that either covers children's writing or writing in general.

Another I thing I consider is the size of a conference. The ACFW conferences that I've attended have up to 600 conference attendees. That's a lot of people and noise. It's easy to get lost in the crowd and harder to get agent/editor appointments. Although I enjoy large conferences, they are not everyone's cup of tea. If you are in introvert, this can be over whelming for you.

At a smaller conference with a 100 people or less, it's easier to actually meet an editor and have a conversation (that doesn't mean a pitch session). I've dined with many editor's at the smaller conferences and learned how their publishing company works and what the editor's needs are or just their general interests.

Any size or type of writing conference is beneficial to writer. Other than meeting editor's, you get tips to help you hone your career, meet critique partners, network and make friends!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Writer's Tools-Part One

I plan to blog in the month of August about various tools that writer's, whether they work a day job or not, need to further their career. The first being trade magazines.

When I started writing in 1991, there were many trade magazine's for writer's. Sadly in the time I've been writing, I've seen many of them fold, change hands, or take on an entirely different format. The later happened to me right after I'd renewed for two years. (Sigh)

I realize that magazine's have to have something for every type of writer so I know there will be articles about screening writing or poetry that I'll skip. I do enjoy reading interviews with other writer's because there maybe tidbits to help me further my career. Sadly, I do not enjoy just reading an article that highlights the writer's celebrity.

So when my subscription ran out to my last writer's magazine subscription, I went on the prowl for a new magazine that would fit my career better only to find...there are only about three choices.

Now, the two writer's organizations I belong to publish magazines specific to their membership, which I love, but I also like have a feel for non-specific genres. Needless to say, I went back to my stand-by magazine, Writer's Digest to fill that need.

In my opinion, writers need to read trade magazines to keep up on trends in publishing that could effect their careers.

What do you think? Do writer's magazines help you learn your craft or inspire you in any way? What do you think to see in a writer's magazine?