Episode 8: Resources

On episode eight of borrowed solace: the podcast, the editors discussed how we went from the Writer’s Guild–a student led club on a college campus–to borrowed solace. Check out some resources for more information below:

How To Start Your Own Literary Journal (And Why You Want To!)

So You Want To Start Your Own On-Line Literary Journal. . .

We want to hear what you think about this episode! Please comment below and join the discussion. Pretend we are carving pumpkins and watching Halloween movies while chatting about the podcast, and leave your thoughts below!

Episode 8: From Writer’s Guild to borrowed solace

This week on the podcast we continue on with our origins mini-series and discuss how we transitioned from the Writer’s Guild (which you can hear more about by listening to episode seven) to borrowed solace. Thanks for tuning in!

Episode 7: Resources

In episode seven of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey was joined by one of the original founders of the Writer’s Guild, Crystal Hinrichsen, to talk about what it’s like to create your own creative community.

If you’d like to read a bit more about our history starting out as the Writer’s Guild, please visit our about page.

For information on how you can embark on your own journey to finding fellow writers to create with, please visit the links below:

How To Start A Writers’ Group

4 Tips on How to Build Your Creative Community

Writing Group Starter Kit (specifically for students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, but there are lots of great tips for starting a group or club–especially at a college!)

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Writers Group

Of course, per the usual, we want to hear what you have to say! Pretend we are at a meeting of your local writing group. What would you contribute to a conversation about how to start (and continue on) with a writing group/club of your own?

Episode 7: Creating Creative Community

This episode is the first of a mini-series discussing the origins of borrowed solace. Join Addey and Crystal Hinrichsen, one of the founders of the Writer’s Guild (who we were before we were borrowed solace), for a discussion on finding your own creative community. Thanks for listening!

All About Conferences

If you’ve followed us for any period of time you’ll probably know what we think about writing conferences—we love them over here!  For some writers, though, the idea of attending a conference with a bunch of writers is scary. 

Well, I think that things seem much scarier when you’re uninformed, so this week on the blog I thought I’d go over some conference dos and don’ts!

Do…

…research the conference beforehand.  All writing conferences are unique in their own special way (I sound like a Barney song here, but it’s true) and not every conference will have what you want.  Because of this, it’s super important to figure out which conferences create the type of environment you need.  If you’re new to the writing world, this might mean looking for conferences that focus on the craft of writing rather than the business of writing—you might not be ready to, say, sell your book.  And that’s fine!  There are conferences for you.  If you are at a stage where getting some face time with an agent is your goal, be sure to go to a conference that offers query one-on-ones or pitch meetings.  If you go to a conference that doesn’t offer these types of meetings and still insist on pitching your book, you’ll look out of touch and won’t have as great of a chance of actually hearing a “yes” from an agent.

…attend a genre-specific conference if you write genre fiction.  This is something I’ve recently been looking into a bit more.  I grew up reading Christian/Inspirational fiction and have decided that I want to try my hand at writing it, but I learned at the last Pike’s Peak Writing Conference (PPWC) I attended that not all agents/editors specialize in that category.  So if I wanted to pitch a Christian Historical Fiction novel at PPWC this past year, I would have been out of luck.  Admittedly, that genre is a bit more niche than say, science fiction, but it’s something to consider.  There are conferences for Christian/Inspirational writers (some that I am researching to attend in the future, see my first “do” above) and there are conferences for almost every genre you can think of!  If you want to learn the skills of your particular trade when it comes to the genre you write, try attending a conference with other genre-junkies just like you!

…create a mini-pitch about whatever your current project is.  Or, if you are in between projects at the moment, come up with a few concise words to describe what you write.  This is hands down the most common question you will be asked by everyone you encounter—from agents, to editors, to other authors, to keynotes, to the staff at the hotel front desk.  When people hear you are going to a writing conference—even if they aren’t writers themselves—their first instinct is to ask what you write.  Figure that out, and practice it a few times!  The best elevator pitches, as they’re commonly called, rely on few syllables but very descriptive words to paint a vivid picture of what it is you do.

…make some business cards (and use them!)  Every time I’ve gone to a conference I bring at least 20 business cards.  Sometimes I only give out two, sometimes I give out fifteen (I’ve yet to run out, but I’m also not the best at remembering to offer them up!)  I think 20 is a good number because you can easily even print out your own since you aren’t going to need 500+.  I usually do order a big pack from Vistaprint or Kinkos, but if that’s not in your budget, printing some off is so helpful.  You never know when someone really important is going to ask for your card!  My best example is when I was explaining the concept of the book I was working on to one of the keynote speakers at a conference a few years ago, who also happens to be the founder of one of the biggest literary agencies in NYC, and he was interested enough to give me his card.  I’m so glad that I had my own to give in return!

…interact with fellow writers.  It can often seem like everyone is at a conference to only make connections with the professionals who are in attendance, i.e., the faculty and keynote speakers, but be sure to interact with other writers!  You can make some new writing buddies by chatting with others in your sessions and at late night hangouts at the hotel bar.  You’re not guaranteed to come out of a conference with a book deal (in fact, you probably won’t), but if you interact with the other conference attendees you could come out of it with a new critique group or beta reader.  And hey, you never know, that writing friend you exchange emails with a few times a year could end up on the New York Times best seller list one day (or you could!)

Don’t…

…go in with big expectations.  Attending a conference is a fantastic way to network and make some new connections, but the chances of selling your debut novel or becoming BFFs with a bestselling author is slim.  That’s just the reality of being a writer—the odds are not exactly in our favor.  That doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t value in attending a conference!  The value comes from the way you frame attending a conference.  If you go into it expecting to learn, and grow, and come away refreshed, then you’re on the right track.  Go in with the mindset to have some fun and recharge your writer batteries.  If you by chance happened to come away with the card of an agent who said “send me your first chapter,” then take that as an unexpected blessing.  Don’t go into it with that expectation, though, or you could come out disappointed.

…pitch to editors and agents outside of designated pitch windows.  Take just a minute to imagine that you are a successful editor or literary agent.  It might be your dream job, or you might prefer to stay on the writer’s side of things, but imagine it anyway.  Now, imagine going to a conference where, for a long weekend (sometimes even a whole week at bigger conferences), you are constantly bombarded by people pitching their book to you.  At every turn you’re running into hopeful writers with big smiles and puppy dog eyes who might as well be down on their knees begging you to take a look at their book.  A dream job or a nice work trip could suddenly turn into something that more closely resembles a horror movie—instead of the creepy guy in a mask wielding a saw around every corner, it’s overly eager writers you can’t escape.  Okay, so that might be a little dramatic, but there’s a reason that most conferences have rules when it comes to pitching.  At PPWC, for example, you can sign up for a meeting with an agent or editor where you get their undivided attention and can pitch to your heart’s content.  Outside of that meeting, though, pitches are off limits.  Follow those rules if the conference you are at has them—don’t become known as the rule breaker (and not in the misunderstood-bad-guy/girl-trope kind of way).

…bail on the optional activities.  When I’ve attended conferences in the past, writing or otherwise, it can be tempting to go back to my room or head home after a long day and skip the afternoon or evening activities.  Despite the temptation to go change into pajamas and read whatever novel I’m currently making my way through before getting some shut-eye, I try to attend at least a couple after hours activities.  I make it a bit of a challenge to myself—pick a few activities that sound like the most fun and make a friend or two I can hang out with during the festivities.  Make said friend beforehand, or during, the event, and then use the time at the event to tag team it—work up the courage together to go chat with that author you’ve been dying to meet or the editor from that major publishing house whose job you’d kill for.  If you start off with the expectation that you are going to x amount of events, you’ll know ahead of time when you can plan to go get into your PJs, and you might even find that the festivities are more fun than sleeping, anyway.

…be afraid to put yourself out there!  Going to writing conferences is about selling yourself to a certain extent.  While that might seem intimidating, think of it this way: who knows your product (i.e, YOU) better than you?  You’ve got this—you’ve literally been researching your whole life for this moment.

I hope this gives you a bit of the inside scoop when it comes to writing conferences.  If you’ve never attended, I’d encourage you to try at least once.  You might find that you’re a repeat offender and go back again and again.

What other dos or don’ts would you add to the list?  Let us know by commenting below!

Episode 6: Resources

In episode six of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey and Nicole were joined by former borrowed solace contributor and creative nonfiction writer Elle Mott.

Elle’s work appears in journals, anthologies, a national news magazine, and the inaugural issue of borrowed solace. Her debut book is Out of Chaos: A Memoir and she is currently working on her second book.

If you would like to connect with Elle and learn more about her work, you can visit her on her website or on Facebook @ellemott.author. You can also find her on Author Central with Amazon.

And, as always, we want to hear from you!

It’s pretty much fall now, so pretend we’re…picking pumpkins? As we wander through the pumpkin patch to find the perfect specimen, we’re chatting about nonfiction and this episode of the podcast. Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below!

Episode 6: An Out of this World Interview with Elle Mott

In episode 6 of the podcast, join Addey and Nicole as they discuss creative nonfiction with Elle Mott, who’s nonfiction piece “When They Came: A Memoir” was published in issue 1.1, Hinterlands.

The Online Writer

Do you have an online presence as a writer?  This is something that seems to come up a lot, whether at writing conferences, chatting with your writing group, or googling online tips on how to get yourself out there and get published.  I guess maybe the more apt questions is: should you have an online presence as a writer?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as borrowed solace expands and I myself am now entering into a new realm of the internet that I have never ventured into before—that of podcasting.  My answer to both of the questions asked in the last paragraph is a resounding “yes!”

Perhaps I am biased as an editor of an online literature journal, but in my experience, much of the writing world is moving to being primarily online.  Most people have probably even googled someone to find out the scoop on them even if they are not famous, or a writer, so imagine how many people might read a blurb about you somewhere and want to learn more about you!  I believe that you should try to make sure you come across in the best light that you can when sharing your writing and, in essence, yourself with others, and the reality of this is that having a presence online is a big part of presenting yourself well.

For most writers, having some sort of website or blog serves as a great home base for anyone who wants to learn more about you.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy!  When I went to my first writing conference almost five years ago, I didn’t have a website.  I did, though, have my Odyssey landing page which had all of the online writing I had done up to that point in one place.  When I realized that I needed to get some business cards, just in case I needed them (and I did!) and scrambled to put something together the week before the conference, my Odyssey page is what I listed next to my phone number and other prudent information on the cards.  It wasn’t the most professional thing, per se, since the web address wasn’t a nice clean “name.com,” but it worked! (and I updated to just regular old AddeyVaters.com later)

If you are hesitant to start a website or are technologically challenged, you can create something very similar to what I had at Odyssey with a free blog hosting site such as WordPress or Wix (both platforms that I and the other editors have used at different times).  Your website address will end up being something like “name.wordpress.com” if you go the free route, but that is a perfectly serviceable place to start if you would like to build up your web presence!  Starting with something is better than nothing, and it’s always smart to set the groundwork for marketing yourself in the future.

If you decide to create a website, it can be very helpful to dip your toes into the social media pool by having at least one platform that you use in a more professional capacity, too.  I would recommend starting out with Twitter.  Twitter has a lively writing community with lots of hashtags that are easy to use, and that get yourself out there. I even think it’s fun to get involved in the conversation!  By creating at least one professional writer profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, you can ping back and forth with your website, linking to your website on Twitter and vice versa.  Many journals will publicize the writers that they publish on social media, and you can in turn link to any relevant publications you have on social media and on your website.

I always find that it’s helpful to start putting yourself out there and developing your own presence online from scratch.  It’s something that will only help down the road as you establish your writing and get more tools in your toolkit that you can use to promote yourself.  All it takes is a first step—for me it was creating my own website after that first writing conference which morphed into what is now borrowed solace and the work that goes into getting not only my writing, but the writing of all of our wonderful contributors, out there.

Are you in favor of developing a web presence as a writer?  What tools of the trade do you use to get yourself out there and promote your writing?

Episode 5: Resources

This week on the podcast, we discussed finding inspiration and spurring on creativity–essentially, how we get our brilliant beyond brilliant ideas. If reading articles and doing research to help get your creative juices flowing is your jam, then check out the links below:

Top artists reveal how to find creative inspiration

Where to find Creative Inspiration?

How to Unleash Your Creativity and Find Inspiration Today!

10 Tips to Shake Away the Creativity Burnout and Find Artistic Inspiration

And, as always, we want to hear from you!

Pretend we are playing with Nicole’s new puppy and chatting about what we’ve been writing lately. What’s been inspiring you? Comment below to let us know!

Episode 5: Brilliant Beyond Brilliant Ideas

What has been inspiring you lately? This is the question that episode five is all about: finding inspiration (plus, a new puppy!) Join Addey, Nicole, and Amber to hear about how they find inspiration and get their “brilliant beyond brilliant” ideas (in the words of Hallie Parker).