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Writing what we know

When Words Matter

You still might have time to attend When Words Collide in Calgary. For the August 14-16 writers’ conference, registering early was important. In fact, if you email now, you will be put on the waiting list! But at least you have a chance of attending.

Wordfest celebrations do have presentations for writers, but this conference is truly a great one for writers or those who dream of writing. As well, given the range of topics and the expertise, what phenomenal value for your money!

Having participated previously, I remember the countless presentations and panels on the art, craft and business of writing. Whether you have published or are still hoping to publish, the weekend offers something for everyone regardless of expertise and genre. If you want the scoop on events and presenters, just check out the program on the website:

There are so many great panels and presentations, but I will be on the following panels with these other fine presenters:

Editing Tricks Faye Holt, Ella Beaumont, Nowick Gray, Arlene F. Marks, Barb Galler-Smith (M) Catching your own goofs before you send your manuscript to your beta reader, or worse, Amazon. Developmental, structural, copyediting or proofreading: Do you need an editor before you self publish? What kind? Or have you been burned: I’m not going to let an editor touch my words!

To Blog or Not to Blog: Answer This Question Faye Holt, Maraya Loza Koxahn, Ella Beaumont, Ryan McFadden Should writers spend their little time writing their book or splitting it with a consistent blog. Panellists discuss benefits and best practices to hosting a blog.

Memoir or Autobiography?  Brian Brennan, Faye Holt, Vivian Hansen, Maraya Loza Koxahn Should your memoir start with your birth? Or is that your mother’s story? Memoir focuses on a significant event or series of events that illustrate a concept. Or do they? Panellists discuss what to include and what to leave out of memoir: the line between memoir and autobiography.

If you have registered, check the schedule for dates and times. Hope to see you there.

What’s New, What’s Not, What’s Next?

Yes, it is a cliché, but life happens, and life gets in the way of life. But here I am again. What’s new? Well, I have definitely been preoccupied, and writing has not been my preoccupation. However, it is possible that writing is again on the horizon.

This year, my 90-year-old mom fell and broke five ribs. For her and for the family, nothing has been easy. My husband has had continuing health problems, too, and for me, family is first. Friends are second, and the rest of life, including books and writing comes somewhere after those. In fact, I am not expecting circumstances to change in a dramatic manner. However, my experience is that when we understand what is happening, we are better able to manage situations.

But here I am—at least for now. And I do have plans for the blog and other writing projects. As for blogging, I am going to be flexible, with a new posting every few weeks. Maybe it will be every week for a while, but then again, who knows? Also, I will embrace flexibility regarding topics. They will still focus on those pursuits I love, but I am not saying which topic will be which week. You might see three posts about history, a few about writing, others about photography, and some just because I or someone I know feels like talking about a subject.

Finally, I am having events/news on my website updated, too. So, if you are in the Calgary area and interested in knowing about sales in the area, I have information there. Also, there you will find the descriptions of some upcoming writing workshops. One is even online, so it doesn’t matter where you live. Here, I’ll post more on those later, too.

Given all that, here I am. Next week, we’ll talk summer events: rodeos, stampedes, fairs and exhibitions, and I have a special offer for you concerning one of my books. It is a vote of thanks, and it is buy one, get one free event. So, check back soon.

Best Laid Plans

With summer travel, perhaps we should expect that sometimes plans need to change. If you are waiting for the continuation of the Guy Weadick story, it will be up Monday, July 30. I am trying to get back to my Monday schedule, and by the 30th, I think I will be up to speed.

The article is entitled: Weadick & the Calgary Stampede: Fact or Fiction or a Little of Both, and remember in this one as I promised “the plot thickens.”

The following Monday, I have scheduled a young guest blogger, Arden Seely, who will give us her insights regarding the tourist and heritage site, Saskatchwan’s Moose Jaw Tunnels.

But remember, August 10, 11 and 12, Calgary play host to When Words Collide, a fine writers’ conference that welcomes writers and writing enthusiasts from all genres to share experiences and information. So, check out the website I think there is still time to register!

To Save or Abandon Old Ideas

I have a new computer! Logically, it is time to decide which files and folders to transfer from the old computer and which ones to abandon. For most writers, after a time, some projects no longer hold any appeal. By then, likely, we should face facts and delete them. With other projects, we continue to be committed to them, but the many competing factors in our lives mean we have not tackled or finished them. Yet, when we study the list of those files on our hard drives, we may be prompted to once again take action and develop an idea to into a proposal or manuscript.

True, it can be difficult to face the realization that some ideas didn’t work out. Yes, at one time, they seemed like great ideas, but ultimately, there was no “life” in those projects. Personally, I think it is always hard to abandon dreams. But if we no longer have something to offer the projects, it is better to let them go than to live with guilt about unfinished poems, stories, essays and fiction or nonfiction books. We don’t need them cluttering our minds and machines. Why? Because all that clutter gets in the way of moving ahead. Countless, closet “cleaning” consultants push the concept of downsizing and de-cluttering, and perhaps we should, too.

Admittedly, I, too, have difficulty abandoning neglected projects. Just because a project wasn’t completed in a “timely manner” doesn’t mean I will never finish it. Sometimes poems, stories, books and articles need to float in our minds, not gathering dust but rather gathering momentum. Then, at the right time, they come together seemingly with ease. Yes, sometimes they change dramatically. For instance, I had wanted to write a book about early forts in Western Canada. Although I still might write such a book, it is not as likely as it once was because I added much of the material during the rewrite of my new book about early homes in the West.

To me, any research, reading and drafting that we do is worthwhile. Ultimately, the material or skills that we develop in the process find their way into one project or another, and they contribute to our understanding of people and places, present and the past. However, if the very existence of a proposal or sketchy draft is creating so much guilt you can’t tackle something new, abandon it. Yet, if it can sit on your hard drive without troubling you, keep it. Who knows? The idea may still become the book or poem you had once imagined, or it might morph into something even better than the original dream.