Stocking Gift Now Can Mean Career Boost Next May

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference

What’s the one thing that some writers say is the most responsible for advancing their literary careers?

A writers conference.

christmas-stockinggraphicYes, at conferences you can meet industry professionals face to face and learn writing techniques directly from published authors. Critique sessions allow you to discuss your works in progress (WIPs) and hash out specific paragraphs or plot puzzles. Spending time with likeminded folks greatly increases your chance of forming strong relationships within the writing community.

Over the past few decades I’ve attended more than three dozen writing seminars and conferences. Here are just a few of the ways I’ve benefited:

  • Thirty years ago at a Portland conference, I met a novelist who invited me to join her critique group. I accepted—and I’m still a member to this day.
  • I first connected with my agent at a February conference on a Washington beach.
  • I met one of my coauthors at a two-day conference held at a Seattle-area church.
  • Other connections have resulted in book contracts, magazine assignments, and clients for my editing business.

While the perks of attending writers conferences are well-established, some people find registration costs to be a significant hurdle.

In case you’re one of those people, here’s an idea. Consider letting friends and family members know you would welcome a monetary gift in your Christmas stocking that you could use on registration fees. If gift-givers aren’t able to help financially, perhaps they’d be interested in offering childcare or another type of service that would enable you to get away for a couple of days.

You can choose from a number of excellent conferences available nationwide. But as director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, of course I think your best option is our own event coming up May 5–6, 2017.

The keynote speaker will be writer, director, and film producer Bill Myers of McGee and Me fame. This winner of seventy national and international awards has written more than 125 published books for children and adults. His book and DVD titles have sold more than eight million copies worldwide. When I met Bill last January while we were both teaching at the same university, I realized the wealth of knowledge he can offer writers at any level of expertise.

At the 2017 Renewal you’ll also learn from literary agents, acquisitions editors, multi-published authors, and other industry professionals. We’ll be using the lovely venue we enjoyed last year: Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington.

Some information is already up on our website, and more will be added soon. Registration will be ready to open in a few weeks. Check the site often for new details.

If upcoming holidays don’t bring you enough financial gifts to cover the entire cost of the conference, here are a couple of other ways to stretch your dollars.

NCWA’s board has authorized two full scholarships to be awarded to applicants. (Details on the website soon.) Also, some full and partial scholarships are available for those who take on certain conference responsibilities.

Whatever financial path you travel to attend the Renewal, prepare to be inspired and equipped—even if Santa ends up having little to do with your getting there.

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Diana SavageDianaSavage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.

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Learn from Stephanie Rische How to Write Memoirs and Pitch Professionally

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference

StephanieRischeStephanie Rische isn’t just senior editor of nonfiction books at Tyndale House Publishers. She’s also an author. Her latest book is the memoir I Was Blind (Dating), but Now I See.

Memoir writing can be tricky, especially when it comes to using the names of real people. For instance, Stephanie has four friends named Sarah, so in the book, she renamed three of them out of concern that readers “would need their Social Security numbers to keep them all straight.”

She adds, “I also changed a few details to protect the privacy of my blind dates, although I have done so with a mixed conscience, because in a few instances, these guys should not be at large on the dating field. Please date at your own discretion.”

At the 2016 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Stephanie will share her editing and memoir-writing expertise with conferees:

Telling the Story of Your Life-Telling the Story of Your Life: Memoir Writing – Have people urged you to write a book about a certain part of your past? Do you wonder if a particular era of your life should be put to paper before you die? In the past decade, memoir writing has soared in popularity, with many critics calling it the most relevant genre of our day. But where do you begin? How do you know what to include and what to leave out? How can you get beyond your feelings of vulnerability? And perhaps most significantly, should you wait until your mother dies before you write it? Drawing from her 13 years of experience editing memoirs at Tyndale House Publishers, as well as writing and publishing her own, Stephanie offers practical tips and tools to help you write a memoir of your own.

Stephanie will also be leading the Renewal’s Friday morning opening session with her address, “How to Make an Irresistible Pitch to Editors & Agents.” All conferees who wish to meet with an editorial representative are required to attend.

Stephanie comes to us highly recommended. Author Nancy Ortberg—a teaching pastor for eight years at Willow Creek Community Church—commends her for having “the courage to let us in to the parts of her world that most of us work hard to keep hidden.”

Popular blogger/author Sophie Hudson—AKA “BooMama”—calls Stephanie’s writing “funny, tender, and insightful.”

If you want to learn the finer points of writing memoirs and pitching proposals from someone with experience and transparency—and if you want to request an appointment with Stephanie or one of the other six editorial reps—register for the Renewal today!

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Diana SavageDianaSavage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Author Kathleen Freeman shares her wisdom and encouragement.

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My husband often accuses me of being a matchmaker, a Yenta out of place and time.

It’s true. Despite a bedroom that argues against it, I love to organize. In the right mood, I can sort a silverware drawer with the best of them—toss take-out restaurant chopsticks from two years ago and make all the spoon bowls stack in the most eye-pleasing manner.

My passion, however, is people. Despite the Valentine’s Day sound of that, it isn’t couples I most like to match. I’m an idea connector, and that ardor extends to finding talents. I LOVE to put people in situations where they can grow and learn, do their best, use the gifts God has given them to make the world a better place. I find it irresistible to help loose chains and free people to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, strength and love their neighbor as themselves.

This is why I write.

In a matchmaking mood, which, to be honest, arrives just about every day, I enjoy seeking out writers and bringing them into the fold, whether it be an organization or critique group. From there, I might have the opportunity to help boost them to the next level of connection, confident that they and an editor or agent will form a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship—a matchless match.

Perfect Match

 

The Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, the annual writers conference, is April 11-12, 2014.  If you’re a writer, you should go. If you’re thinking about becoming a writer, you should go. Connection opportunities are vast at any conference and will be super strong at the upcoming one. Right? Of course right.

1. Writer or not, this conference is matchless, one of the best in the country for renewal, for connecting with God, for inspiration. Writers have a way with words.

2. Hundreds of other writers will be there, from beginning beginners to best-selling authors. Writers are a quirky bunch, especially those of us who write fiction. You are not alone in your desire to create, in the way you discuss made up people as if they are real, or even argue with them… out loud. Writers love to help other writers—maybe it’s the comfort we feel in numbers, which is odd, since most of us are introverts. Ask anything about writing. Someone will know the answer.

3.  Davis BunnDavis Bunn is speaking and teaching. Mr. Bunn is a celebrated and prolific writer of adventure, Oxford teacher and world traveler. Think Indiana Jones without the whip. He is also one of the best teachers I’m encountered in my long writing journey. His class would have shaved years off the learning process. If only.

4. Many editors and agents will attend. They are looking for work with that special ring, whether it be in fiction, children’s books, science articles, or a non-fiction article that moves the most hardened of criminals to tears.

“Bring me a ring for I’m longing to be the envy of all I see.”

Cue potential matches:

 Sally ApokedakSally Apokedak, with the Les Stobbe Agency, is one of the kindest agents I’ve met. She loves a good book, especially quirky-fun children’s books and YA. I hear she has a passion for science, which makes her even cooler in my… book. The agency head, Les Stobbe is agent to some fantastic people. He is committed to helping first time authors and is seeking adult fiction and non-fiction.

Katherine DeVries Katherine DeVries, with David C. Cook, is a publisher in search of encouraging articles, inspiring poems, African American Real Life writers and editors, and curriculum writers. Time to dust off your Sunday School lesson ideas.

 William JensenWilliam Jensen, William K. Jensen Literary Agency, is looking for fiction and non-fiction.

 Rachel KentRachel Kent, of the highly esteemed Books and Such Agency, is looking for adult fiction and non-fiction, young adult (YA) fiction and non-fiction, and twenty to thirty-something fiction and non-fiction. Books and Such loves good ideas and great writing. Non-fiction is especially interesting to them at this time.

 Kathleen KerrKathleen Kerr, Harvest House (a top ten Christian publisher), is looking for nonfiction dealing with Christian living, self-help, and apologetics.

JamieWestM. Jamie West, Pelican Book GroupWhite Rose, Harbourlight—is looking for fiction. The White Rose imprint is romance, and the Harbourlight imprint takes a variety of genres. They love to keep it real.

For more information, see the complete list of needs for the agents and editors that will be at the Renewal here.

There are great fits out there, and less than optimal fits, even if your name is Frank Peretti, Karen Kingsbury, or T. Davis Bunn. Playing with matches, a writer can get burned, so do your research. Talk to people. Catch no catch, unless it’s a matchless match. Please remember to have long conversations with the greatest of connectors, the first and best matchmaker.

Thy will be done, our Father.

TweetFind the Perfect Match for your writing at a writers conference.

 

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.Kathleen Freeman 2

Kathleen Freeman serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Christian Writers Association as the Critique Coordinator. She’s also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and she’s been writing and critiquing for enough years to be told she’s been around the block a few times. Her work appears in Raising Small Souls, the NCWA Newsletter, Vista Journal for Holy Living, and Clubhouse Magazine. She was the 2012 winner of the Genesis contest in the YA category, 2013 semi-finalist in the Mystery category, and the 2013 3rd place  winner of the Category 5 contest, Contemporary category. You can find her at www.findinghopeinhardtimes.com.