I started writing in a journal when I was in grade 3. One of my teachers took my parents aside on parent-teacher night and suggested that they get me a notebook so I could write my ideas down. I think this came about because I wasn’t paying attention in math class, but it in hindsight it was likely one of the events that lead me to writing.
I journaled daily for years — until my mid-twenties, in fact. I have boxes full of journals of all shapes and sizes stored in a basement somewhere. There are the pink, sparkly ones of high school days, filled with “I love so-and-so’s,” and lots of stickers, the angsty tirades of my early 20s, the day-to-day scribbles of my early 30s. I reduced my journaling to a few times a week as I grew older, and recently, I stopped.
What’s the best way to get 3 full days of advice on writing, publishing and promoting for $65? Attend the When Words Collide Conference for writers and readers in Calgary, Alberta!
I attended When Words Collide (WWC for short) last year. It was my first-ever writers’ conference, and I was nervous, awkward and unsure right up until the day I arrived. I had a million newbie questions like:
- What do people wear to writing conferences? (Answer – Really whatever you want as long as your undies aren’t showing.)
- Should I bring a book? (Answer – Maybe, but at WWC there’s not much time for reading.)
- What should I say to Jack Whyte, one of my favourite authors who was at the conference? (Answer – “Hello I love your books,” seemed to work just fine.)
Thankfully all my fears were squashed as soon as I arrived and I was greeted by friendly people (like Randy McCharles, the conference organizer) and began attending sessions. Lots and lots of sessions.
Have you ever sought out feedback on your writing? While asking for feedback can be scary, in my experience, it’s almost always helpful, especially if you get feedback from the right person. Getting feedback is one of the fastest ways to improve your writing.
It’s amazing how much we can’t see in our own writing. Many times when I receive feedback on my writing, I’m shocked to find out that the thing I was worried about wasn’t such a big deal at all, but there were other, more pressing matters that I needed to attend to to make my writing better.
In the writing community, there are several ways that you can seek out feedback on your writing, and often you can get feedback for free!
Here are a five ways to get feedback on your writing.
I’ve always had a tenuous relationship with Facebook. I’ve deleted my account three times now (double-tap, fully deleted), and if you ask me if I like Facebook on any given day, I’ll tell you “No,” without hesitation.
Why this hate of Facebook? Their ever-shifting security policies terrify me. But, despite my fear of the Facebook, I’ve opened a new account and am back to give it one more try.
Love it or hate it, Facebook has become ingrained in our culture. As a writer, it’s really hard to justify not being present on Facebook when you can meet so many potential readers and writing friends there. Not belonging to Facebook was starting to feel like not going to the best writing conferences: I was missing out.