Should You Be Writing Right Now? And What About the Kids? And What About a Conference This Summer?

Should You Be Writing Right Now? And What About the Kids? And What About a Conference This Summer? June 27, 2014

Kathy Schiffer reminds you that if, “I’d like to be a writer someday” applies to you, consider attending the Catholic Writers Conference this summer.  It’s in metro-Chicago this year, and the location varies from year to year, so if you’re in the upper-midwest or central Canada come July 30-August 1, this is your year.

Promises to be an excellent event.  From the press release:

Speakers at this year’s conference include authors Lisa Hendey (BOOK OF SAINTS FOR CATHOLIC MOMS), award-winning science fiction/fantasy author Gene Wolfe (THE NEW BOOK OF THE SUN), Inspirational Speaker Lizzie Velasquez, Gary Zimak (FROM FEAR TO FAITH), Claudia Volkman (Editor, Servant Books), Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle (EWTN, CATHOLIC PRAYER BOOK FOR MOTHERS), Ellen Gable Hrkach (STEALING JENNY), blogger Rebecca Hamilton (PUBLIC CATHOLIC-PATHEOS) and many others.

The conference will give authors an opportunity to meet personally with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. Some participating publishers are Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, and Servant Books. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to sign up for fiction critique workshop with award-wining short fiction writer Arthur Powers, a non-fiction critique group with Nancy Cook Ward and attend a writing workshop with novelist John Desjarlais. Information for these events can be found on the conference website.

Go here for more info, and here to register.  Reminder that if you already have a ticket to the Catholic Marketing Network trade show (exhibitor or attendee), you get to participate in the Catholic Writers Conference as part of the package.  And vice-versa – a CWC ticket gets you into all the free trade show events, and you can choose to purchase tickets to the various dinners and breakfasts and so forth as well.

Catholic Writers Conference Online

Should Every Catholic Disciple Have a Blog?

We cover blogging every year at CWC, and each year we get a little more advanced.  In early-years, the question was, “What is a blog, anyway?”  No more.  Here’s a piece from Canadian Catholic on Five Reasons Every Disciple Needs a Blog.

I don’t actually think that every faithful Christian needs to blog.  But if you enjoy writing, blogging is a great way to practice writing for an audience.  If you start small, it’s a zero-cost way to get going as a writer, and you can upgrade later if it gets serious.

Given the tremendous popularity of certain mega-bloggers and news sites, you might be wondering whether it’s worth your time to keep blogging (which you love, I presume) if you have only a small audience.  Let me encourage you: Small blogs do the most work for discipleship.

Sure, you only have five readers and two regular commenters.  So what?  You wanted to write what you were writing anyway, and now you can personally connect with those handful of souls who are looking for exactly what wisdom God has given you.

You think that’s small?  Our Lord didn’t think it was small.  He would have as soon died for just one of your readers as for the entire world.

So if you love your work as a blogger, don’t lose heart because you don’t have thousands of shares.  Be grateful for the chance to reach exactly the people who needed to hear what you had to say.

How Do I Get My Child Into Writing?

A friend recently shared this piece from the Atlantic on the importance of unstructured play to your child’s intellectual development.  I think this is one of the values of stay-at-home parenting: When you have a large group of children in a classroom or after-school program, they need structure to prevent Lord of the Flies from breaking out.  That’s just how it is.  When kids have trusted adults available but not running the show, it provides the combination of emotional support and connection kids need, but also the freedom to play around with the world that they need, too.

I’m not opposed to all structured, classroom-based learning, and I’ve got the book to prove it.  Nor do I have any illusions that every child can have the option of many long days devoted to unstructured, parent-at-home play time.  But your child is home some of the time. So do what you can to make a good chunk of that time boring.  And then leave things around (good toys, recycling art supplies, balls, sticks, dirt, cookbooks) that your child can use.

Top Secret Parenting Thing: You have to unplug the computer, the TV, the iMachine, all that stuff, if you want to make this time happen.

If you want to know whether your child has a future as a writer, see what happens if you give the kid a spiral notebook with his name on it, a pile of decent pens, and a whole lot of privacy.

Is there a Writers Conference for Kids?

Providing support for Catholic educators is one of the longterm goals of the Catholic Writers Guild.  To that end, if you aren’t upper Midwest but you are Southeast, and you have a child you want to teach writing to, consider attending the Midlands Homeschool Conference.  Even if you aren’t a homeschooler.  It’s July 24-26th, and in addition to the many other topics being covered, there’s a huge writing track.

The Catholic Writers Guild will have a few southeastern authors attending (to wit: Michelle Buckman, Deanna Klingel, Fr. Jeffry Kirby, and Christian LeBlanc), all of whom are fabulous with kids.  We’ll have giveaways from a few supporters who will be with us in spirit, including the likes of Elizabeth Scalia and Tuscany Press.  Also, you should go just so you can heckle Chris Tollefsen.  Kidding, kidding.  You should go so you can bring him gifts of beer.

It’ll be fun.  It’s not expensive.  If you’re in the region and looking for Kids-Conference-South, that’s your one.

Midlands Homeschool Convention


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