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Writing conference

General, open discussion regarding writing, getting published, markets, pointers, and other related topics. All are welcome! No advertising, please!

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Sibermom65
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Writing conference

Postby Sibermom65 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:13 pm

Our church is tossing around the idea of hosting a "Mini-conference" for writers with a theme of evangelization for this fall. Unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to attend a conference and I'm feeling like I'm going into this blind. We have a lovely, isolated location about an hour each way from major cities. I think we would be wise to set ourselves up as a micro-retreat location and this conference idea gives us a chance to test the waters.
Questions - a speaker in the morning and workshops in the evening? How would you wind it up so people don't just leave after lunch? Maybe a round table Q & A? (Yes, open and close with prayer.)
It will be critical to keep expenses minimal, as we will probably only draw 1 - 2 dozen people this first time.
We can provide a choice of a room upstairs with soft chairs or a cafeteria-type setup where computers can be set up. Will that be adequate? Not plush and nice, but the price is right.
How do I locate a speaker?
Evangelization - do I need to keep participants within our faith or does it make sense to open it to the wider ecumenical community?
What else should I be considering?

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Deb Porter
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Re: Writing conference

Postby Deb Porter » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:20 pm

Very hard to organise a conference if you've never attended a writer's conference. You would be wise to have a few of you working on this--more ideas.

As a first go, with an anticipated small number of attendees, you would be better providing only "all in" sessions. With a VERY specific theme, like evangelism, having only "all in" sessions makes sense. That's because you are only communicating one message--how to write in a way that connects with the unsaved. So don't break down into smaller workshops on this first run.

If possible, provide some hands on opportunities inside those "all in" sessions. This keeps the attendees engaged and solidifies what they have learnt. In other words, the speaker communicates to the group, and then sets them some writing tasks so they can put what they've heard into practice.

No idea how to locate a speaker with the ability to communicate to your group (at a price that you can afford). That's where connections work. If you have strong connections within the writing community, the chances are easier you will find someone with strong speaking skills and expertise.

I'm not sure what you mean by "keep it within your faith." Do you mean within Christianity (our faith) or do you mean within your denomination? Yes, if the former; no, if the latter.

So apart from finding others (a small committee or group) to help set up this first conference, go with what feels good for your theme and your church. It will be trial and error this first time. Be enthusiastic and keep a good balance between teaching and break time (for mingling). Include worship to start and finish your time together, and it should leave the attendees feeling encouraged and uplifted.
Deb
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Breath of Fresh Air Press

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Sibermom65
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Re: Writing conference

Postby Sibermom65 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:30 pm

I'm making a little progress with the conference planning. It will be open to all faiths. The theme is "Writing to Evangelize" and any and all formats are welcome. I have the name of one possible speaker, but I'm doubtful she will be the best choice as her speaking engagements have been less about spreading the faith and more about writing as a form of healing. I've found a person who will help me put this together. We worked together previously on another evangelization project and she is enthusiastic about doing this. In mid-month we will be attending a workshop about applying for grant money that can be used to pay for a speaker. We still need to get a list of possible speakers so we can get a feel for how much one might charge. That part has be baffled as I really don't know where to look.

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Re: Writing conference

Postby Sibermom65 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:35 am

It looks like we'll be able to get the grant money to pay for a speaker and whatever else we deem necessary. We're still having a real problem finding a speaker. I'm getting zero responses to my inquires, even from people who advertise they do speaking engagements. I've only got a couple of weeks left to find a speaker or we lose our opportunity for the grant.

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Shann
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Re: Writing conference

Postby Shann » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:32 am

Cool about the grant. Are you mainly looking for people who are speaking about how to evangelize or could it be a bit broader. I helped edit a book from a lady in Rochester and now lives in Buffalo who lost two of her sons to Sickle Cell Anemia. The book was quite powerful and talked about how God used her to glorify him during these difficult times. I know she does do speaking engagements too, I would be happy to introduce you if you think she might be a match. Part of her title is Evangelist Naersay Harris. I think you might be able to find her on FB. Let me know if you'd like me to introduce you. If you find her page, you can mention my name. If I can find it, I'll send it to you. I'm not sure what denomination she is from, but she is a member of Prince of Peace Temple Church. I found her FB page but don't know how to link it to you. It tells the church she is from and that she is a speaker and conference host. If you search FB for her name, you should find it easily enough. I hope it helps some.
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Sibermom65
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Re: Writing conference

Postby Sibermom65 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:05 pm

I can't find anyone on FB by that name. I've got feelers out I n three directions - one looks very good except he is in Dallas - a long way from CNY. I hear back on the grant in early June, but we'll host the conference one way or another. I'm just anxious for this first one to be such a rousing success that we can do it every year. What I need is to have someone like you come and speak to us. you have the perfect background.
I know it would be a lot better and easier if I had ever attended a conference, but it isn't in the cards - both money and time are lacking. Bob and I are both having health issues that have to be taken into consideration, too.
I need to sell a whole lot of books in order to afford to go to a conference and learn how to write better. What's wrong with this picture?

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Re: Writing conference

Postby Shann » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:30 pm

I can try contacting her and asking if you'd like. I'm not sure how good she would be at the writing part but the evangelize part would be right up her alley. Let me know if you want me to reach out to her.
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Re: Writing conference

Postby Sibermom65 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:23 pm

Sadly, we didn't get the grant. Now we have to find the best way to pull off the conference with no budget. Over the 4th of July I'll be having another book signing with the proceeds going toward the conference. If all goes well, I can expect to get about $100 towards it. Attendees will have to pay, instead of the conference being free, but hopefully it won't be very much - something to cover the cost of the meal at least.

On the plus side, I am going to my first writer's conference the beginning of August (Catholic Writer's Guild I Lancaster, PA) so I'll have a little experience to work from in the planning of ours.


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