Posts Tagged ‘writing conference’


Imagination… Engage!

   Posted by: Faith    in Everything Else

Ah, conference season. The sweet smell of… other people attending ‘The Big Ones’, while you sit at home wondering how everyone can afford trips to Denver or California or Tennessee in the middle of the year. Right around summer vacation season, no less!

But what about attending a smaller, one-day conference someplace that you can drive to? I’ve heard that such things exist, but until a few weeks ago, I’d never actually seen evidence of one…

A few weeks back, Susan at Reviews from Innisfree posted a status message on a social networking site that asked if anyone else was going to something called ‘PYI’. “What on earth…?” I wondered, and promptly plugged it into Google to find out. Here’s what I found:

Packaging Your Imagination 2009

“A day of workshops for those interested in writing, illustrating or performing for young people”

This is a one-day conference held by CANSCAIP (The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers) on November 7th, 2009. From the looks of things, you don’t have to be a member to attend, though you can join for a $10 discount when you register for the conference (which is only $135.00). Your registration includes 3 sessions, morning coffee, lunch (for the first 120 registrants), and the keynote address by none other than the well-loved Kenneth Oppel. Yes, this Kenneth Oppel –>

And guess what? For all us writerly types living in Southern Ontario (or anywhere within driving distance, really… that includes you, Buffalo!), we can easily drive into Toronto, take in a day of writing sessions, and drive home, without having to shell out money for a flight/hotel/enormous conference fees or losing money from taking time off work. How exciting is it to have something like this in our own little corner?

Admittedly, I haven’t registered yet, as I’m not 100% certain I can go… but if you can, I encourage you to sign up and get as much as you can out of it. It looks like they have some great session topics lined up.

Question: For those of you who don’t live around here – have you ever attended a one-day conference in your area? How did you find that compared to a larger conference (if you’ve been to one), and did you feel it was time well spent?

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Write!Canada: Day 2

   Posted by: Faith    in Write!Canada

Day two started eaaaarly… or at least it seemed that way. It was an hour to drive in, and I wasn’t going to miss breakfast (I paid the money, I’m getting fed!), so I was up and driving in at 7:30am. *yawn*

  • 9:30am - Noon - Continuing Class (Writing for Children & Young Adults)

Believe it or not, we discovered that someone had complained the day before about the amount of writing time given to us in the class… On day one, Valerie presented us with four or five options of projects we could work on (and possibly share on the last day) over the course of the conference, and the plan was to give us about 15 minutes of writing time at the end of each session. We only managed to get the time in once on day one, and only for about 10 minutes… and someone had a problem with that??? It was bizarre. We’re at a writing conference, people. Don’t you want to write? Weird. But, it became the running joke of the rest of the session, and I hope that other person found what they were looking for in another session.

  • 12:30pmLunch

I sat at Audrey Dorsch‘s table, and chatted with the ladies around me again. A few of us had a conversation with Audrey about indexing and the work involved in that… I know it might sound boring, but after my brief stint at indexing in university, I found it interesting to hear about it on a professional level. Audrey had made jokes the night before about it not being the most exciting work, but when she talked about it to us, it was clear that she did enjoy her time on that job. Indexing also takes quite the detailed eye, since so much of it can be subjective (unless someone has specified the terms & formatting), and I imagine that job helped to prepare her in some way for her later editing positions.

  • 1:45pm - 4:45pmWorkshops A & B: Finding Your Writing Personality (2-part)

Well… I can’t say I gained a whole lot out of this workshop, and unfortunately, I felt like it was a bit of a waste of time. Too bad it took up 2 out of 3 workshop slots… and I had such high hopes! We took several tests to determine our personality ‘color’, and then worked in groups to talk about the various personality colors and what made them different… and finally, how that showed through in our writing life. It was interesting… but I think it could have been covered in one session. It was repetitive, slow, and… did I mention repetitive? I mean, I get the point. Greens like research, yellows are organized, blues are emotional people-persons, and oranges are adventurous free spirits. *ta-da!* Can we move on now?

The best part of this workshop was the last 10 minutes, when we were in groups and answering questions about how we dealt with various aspects of our writing. Oddly enough, the session even went 15 minutes over time… but really, you can only tell me what each color is like so many times before I’m going to tune out and work on something else. The woman leading the workshop even said, more than once, “greens hate it when things get repetitive, they get bored and won’t listen anymore because they just want you to get to the point”. Mmm-hmm. Did you hear what you just said, lady? Are you wondering why this table at the back hasn’t looked in your direction for the past 15 minutes?

I may cover more of this session’s material in a future post – hey, I need to try and get something out of it – but I’d say the best part was meeting like-minded individuals who react in similar ways as I do to various parts of our work. That was really nice… but again, something I could have done in one hour, as opposed to two and a half. Sigh.

  • 3:15pmAppointment: Valerie Sherrard

The day before, Valerie asked us all to write down ONE question that we absolutely couldn’t leave the weekend without having an answer to. I posed “one question, many parts” relating to series writing, since the YA and Children’s book industry often seems so centered around pumping out series that will keep kids coming back again and again… but I’ve also heard that a new writer doesn’t necessarily want to write a series, as it could be a career killer. Anyway, Valerie asked me to make an appointment with her to go over the question, since it was pretty involved and perhaps pertained more to me specifically. So I did! The meeting went very well, and I got the answers I needed. More on the meeting in another post!

  • 5:30pmSupper

Sat at Mags Storey’s table, talked with her a little bit, but saved my questions for my appointment with her on Day 3. She was extremely chatty, very personable, and funny. I also met an adorable young woman who works with special needs high school students and has a firey passion for social justice… I wish I could remember her name, but she was very sweet and truly had a heart to change the world. I bet she will.

  • 7:00pmPlenary Session with Brian Stiller

Wow… talk about an excellent speaker! Brian Stiller was inspiring, encouraging, and challenging… and full of one-line inspirational quotes. It was ridiculous. A lot of people weren’t sure what to expect of his talk, but he gave a lot of good advice about following what God has called you to do, speaking to the world instead of hiding ourselves away, and asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your everyday life. I wrote a lot of things down during his talk, and I plan to read it over during those moments of self-doubt, to be reminded that I’m doing the right thing. I’m in the right place. I was born with this desire to write for a reason, and who else would put that in me but the One who made me?

  • 9:00pmAutograph Party for All Authors

Well, not all of them… it was more like: “Set up a table with your books and sit behind it for awhile.” Hmm. The ones I wanted to get autographs from weren’t there… of course. Oh well. I ordered a recording of one of the other workshops that I wasn’t in, got a free book (oooh yeah) from the bookstore, and moved on to…

  • 9:30pm - 25th Anniversary Cake!

By this time, I was tired, emotionally drained, and ready to go home… but I wanted cake, so I tried to hide in the background while they got it ready, with the intention of grabbing a piece and getting out of there. I sent a text to my husband at this point, saying something like “I’m exhausted, if I have to talk to one more person I’m going to scream”… which meant, of course, that someone came over to talk to me. That was fine, though – I managed to excuse myself easily after a few minutes, grab some cake, and head out the door with it. I ate it on the way to the car, and then drove home…

I think at that point I was just so tired from interacting with so many people… being around a lot of people like that – in a situation where I’m constantly talking, sharing, listening, etc. – really drains me, and after two days, I was beat. One more day to go, though…

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   Posted by: Faith    in Write!Canada

I’m back from the conference… with piles of information, ideas, suggestions, thoughts, and opinions. Over the next few weeks, I’ll do my best to outline the weekend and what I got out of it… but I think I need just one more day to really mull over the things I learned. There was a lot to take in, and it was certainly worth the time and money spent. Of course, I also know there are a lot of things I now have to do, but it’s not as daunting as it was before.

It is possible to call yourself a writer in this day and age (and economy), and it is possible to gain some measure of success.

How is this possible? To summarize:

Just tell the story.

More to come in the days/weeks ahead.

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Write!Canada 2009

   Posted by: Faith    in Write!Canada

It starts tomorrow! And finally… finally… I’ll be attending.

It was a bit of a last-minute decision, and as a result I probably won’t be able to take advantage of the three 15-minute one-on-one sessions with faculty (I’d rather have a significant chunk of time to prepare for something like that, as opposed to going in cold), but… I’m sure it will still be well worth the time and money invested.

The conference runs from Thursday through Saturday, with three workshops and six sessions of continuing classes + plenary sessions. There are also manuscript critique sessions, but I would have needed to sign up for those (and pay a bit extra) a long time ago, since they need to read your submission in advance.

I’m approaching this conference with the attitude that since it’s my first time attending, I’ll just go with the flow, absorb as much information as I can, and come back next year better prepared in the sense that I’ll know what to expect. I know I won’t get as much out of the conference this year as I could – particularly due to my late registration – but let’s face it, I’m not attending this year with the intention to make industry contacts or pitch article ideas. If I’d had more time to prepare, sure! But that’ll have to wait until next year.

However, I won’t waltz in completely green… I registered my business (finally!), have a splash page for the website going up today (, and will print a few business cards tonight, just in case. You never know what kind of opportunities might come your way, so I want to be prepared in the event that something does arise. I highly doubt it, but… I want to be ready anyway. I’ll also be bringing the first 10,000 words of my fiction manuscript, some samples of my article writing, and a list of prepared questions for the sessions (so that I can get the information I want if it’s not covered, and I won’t walk out thinking “oh crap, but I really wanted to know about…”).

Currently, I’m signed up in the ‘Writing for Children & Young Adults’ continuing session, and I’m hoping that it will be as helpful as it could be (another reason why I think it might be good to keep a list of questions handy). In the workshops, I’m signed up for a 2-part session on ‘Finding Your Writing Personality’ and one session on ‘Five Critical Things You Must Do With New Media’ (hopefully it won’t be a whole session about starting a blog…). I’ll be taking extensive notes throughout the entire conference, and will post about each session, as well as a conference overview, throughout the following weeks.

What I want to get out of the conference as a whole is a reassurance that I’m not crazy for trying to make it in this business, and a sense of encouragement. Some days ‘writing’ seems like such a futile aspiration, especially in the realm of fiction, because that’s not really where the money is – or at least, it isn’t until you’ve established a significant body of work. However, you need to have the time & energy to build that body of work in the meantime (haha), as you try to pay the bills in other ways. I’m hoping to leave the conference refreshed and with a new sense of vision for my future, at least in the short term.

So, we’ll see how it goes. And now, off to finish getting ready!