This week I am winging my way back to Utah to attend the Woodstock of LDS writing Conferences: LDS Storymakers. It is a pretty big deal for the LDS writing community. The way I see it there are three main things that writers do there:
1) Work on developing their writing skills by attending classes and workshops.
2) Learn to navigate the publishing world, and get their foot in the door.
3) Socialize, network and “party” (Mormon-style.)
I attended last year as a rookie, wide-eyed and eager to learn. This year I am going back much the same, except that this year I am also part of the faculty. Yes, I have been chosen to teach a class.
What? MMM teaching a class at a Conference surrounded by seasoned, professional writers? It is true, and it should be lots of fun! Even though I am not a traditional novel-type writer, there are a couple of reason I figure I have been selected to participate.
First, Storymakers is making a conscious effort to provide more resources for the non-fiction crowd. That means folks like me – people who write blogs, history, spiritual, self-help and instructional stuff. Not everybody writes novels, even though the lion’s share of Storymakers attendees do.
Second, I have some experience in non-fiction writing, specifically this blog. This post is number 1,154 on ye old Middleaged Mormon Man. I am closing in on a million words. That is a big pile of posts, and if you dig, you might find a handful of gems in that pile. In a word, I am kinda prolific.
The number one question I get when discussing my blog with other writers is this: “How do you keep coming with new ideas to write about?”
Easy peasy. That is the subject of the class I will be teaching.
I’m not a big believer in writer’s block – probably because I have never experienced it. There is always something to write about, and always something to use to teach larger issues. If you have been reading me for long, you know that is what I am about: Finding lessons in everyday life, and finding new ways to teach old truths,
I believe that this ability can be taught – or at least that is what I will be attempting to do. And I will not be using any safety devices.
Now it follows that religious bloggers would be interested in this, but I think it could prove valuable to writers of all stripes. The writing world has changed, and many publishers expect their writers to bring an audience with them, and that usually requires some sort of social media presence – enter blogging.
The problem is that when fiction writers are lost in the worlds they are creating in their brains, the last thing they want to do is to snap back into reality and write and maintain a blog. It makes sense, as I have discovered from dipping my toe into the novel-writing pond, the two forms of writing are wildly different.
Fortunately, some of the tricks of the blogging trade that I rely on in the non-fiction world can also be applied to the fiction world to keep a non-stop fountain of ideas bubbling up.
I expect the class “A Blister is Worth a Thousand Words,” to be free-wheeling an fun, and hopefully informative.
To those who are attending Storymakers this week:
- Come find me and say hello! Caution: I am a hugger.
- Attend my class if it fits your schedule. (2:30pm Friday)
- Take a gander at my book in the bookstore.
- Pretend that it is water in my 44oz styrofoam cup. *wink*
See you Friday!
PS: If you couldn’t make LDS Storymakers this week, or are trying to muster the courage to attend one of these events, try the ANWA Annual Conference in lovely Gilbert, AZ this September. It is smaller, awesome and a great place to get started. link