Category Archives: writing Workshops

When Words Collided in Calgary

Congratulations on a successful convention for everyone involved in When Words Collide. What did I learn? I am an experienced writer, but still, I learned far too much to cover today.  However, some of it will be subjects for blogs of the future. Many thanks to presenters and volunteers.

One very important detail that I learned from casual conversations was  that anyone interested in the conference must register early. In fact, some of us registered at this year’s conference for next year! I haven’t done proper fact-checking but I understand that, despite about 600 attendees, another hundred were on the waiting list . Obviously, my earlier blog was far to late to give you a chance of getting in the door! So, watch the When Words Collide website for when registrations are open to the public for the 2016 conference.

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.

Calling Writers and Language Arts Teachers

I feel fortunate to be one of the guest authors presenting workshops at the Calgary Young Writers’ Conference (CYWC) on April 21. This very special full-day event is in its 29th year and is offered by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) for hundreds of Grades 4-8 students who love to write. Dedicated volunteers have spent months organizing the 40 guest speakers who will address students and the six of us who will share ideas with the teachers and other adults in attendance. In order to celebrate home-grown talent and “writing in our own back yard,” the 2012 conference features Alberta writers only. With keynote speakers Jacqueline Guest and Michele Martin Bossley, as well as dozens of other well-known Alberta writers who will offer small group workshops to the students, the CBE and volunteers deserve thanks and credit for what is certain to be a memorable day.

In the past, my CYWC workshops were dedicated to motivating and encouraging student writers, but this year, while presenting to the teachers, volunteers and parents, I will suggest how a humanities approach to reading and writing is a great option. That approach does not have to be offered within an official humanities program. Rather, the approach is a very contemporary method of interesting and supporting all language arts students, whether their preferred learning mode is print, visual, tactile or auditory and whether they love English, social studies, science, art or other subject matter.

Also, I’ll reveal how my own attitudes about writing instruction have been dramatically changed with my increased awareness concerning what brings on writer’s block for me and what helps me pursue my own writing goals and interests.

Lastly, I’ll explain and recommend reading/writing-related options developed to facilitate visits by Alberta writers to schools. I believe that it is mutually beneficial for teachers and writers to work together in their efforts to encourage reading and writing among today’s busy, high-tech kids. So, I will highlight what is available throughout Alberta. However, details concerning such programs offer writers and teachers in other locations useful information and ideas for setting up their own programs or improving existing ones.

Whether you are a writer or teacher in Alberta or elsewhere, stay tuned. Discover available options, and decide what is right for you.

Brief Up-date on My Writing Workshops

I can hardly believe how far behind I have become with my blog and website in the past few months. Dropping behind isn’t an experience unique to me, but like many others, I feel like I’m running to stay in place. I have the usual commitments: family, meals, shopping and errands. Then, I served on the party planning committee AWCS thirtieth anniversary, and I’m happy to report it was a great success. Recently, I returned from Olds where I offered a short workshop at the library, and we had a great evening, too.

This past Saturday I taught a full-day workshop for Mount Royal University. As well, I have been working on the rewrite and expansion of one of my books, which went out of print some time ago. But I certainly feel as if my friends and web-related writing have not received the attention they deserve. However, I’m trying to catch up with both.  In particular, I haven’t updated my events for some time. So, given that it is time to register in fall workshops, here’s my start at updates for you.

Next Saturday, October 1, I will be offering the first session in a four-week workshop called “Writing Lives into Stories” at Mount Royal University. It will run on Saturdays from 9:00 to noon until October 29 but with no class over the Thanksgiving Weekend. How have we described the workshop?

“Interested in writing a life story? Create a balance between matters of the head and heart. Explore the use of interviews, journals, diaries, memoirs and letters in turning a life into a story. Find sources that can help fill in the gaps or enliven your material. Share and discuss with the class the story you want to tell.”

To register, go to and follow the links, e-mail: or call 403.440.6012. So, if you have a life story to tell, perhaps I’ll see you at the Lincoln Park Campus, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary.

Another workshop that I will be offering this fall is with Alexandra Writers, and it is the first weekend of November.  The workshop is titled “Submissions and Markets,” and it is a weekend intensive. We have our first session on the Friday night and finish on Sunday, and the extended time frame for the workshop is new to me. In fact, I had planned to talk about it this week, but fortunately, there is more time to consider registering , so I’ll tell you more about the event next week.