Thank you for registering for the Writing for Your Life Online Mega-conference. All recordings will be available through October 3, 2020.

This is the page where you access all conference activities – please do not share it with anyone who has not registered for the conference.

To access each session, click on the link showing the time for that session (for instance, 1:00 – 1:45 Central).

 

Please note: Week 1 times are all Eastern, for the convenience of our Charlotte attendees; Week 2 times are all Central, for the convenience of our Minnesota attendees – end times are approximate

 

All times and sessions are subject to change

Group discussions with each speaker are an opportunity for you to ask the speaker questions. Book discussions with each author are an opportunity for you to learn more about our speakers’ books, to learn how they talk about their own books, and to ask them questions.

 

Monday June 22 – Eastern time

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Eastern: Opening Worship – Christ Church Charlotte
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Barbara Brown Taylor keynote: Writing in Quarantine: The Sacrament of the Right Word
  • 10:30 – 12:00 Eastern: Barbara Brown Taylor Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Dana Trent presentation: What Every Writer Needs to Know
    • I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer since I could hold a pencil. I was too young to craft a sentence, but I longed to create beauty. But between childhood and adulthood, creative dreams dissolved into worries about what was employable. Being a writer, I’d been told, was not a realistic career path. So I opted for safety—and, therefore, misery. Then, a candid mentor encouraged me to turn my tears into work that would, ultimately, forge the path to my writing life. Ten years later, I’m the award-winning author of four books. Though my road circuitous, yours needn’t be. Join us for “What Every Writer Needs to Know,” a session covering a decade of lessons that will equip you for the journey (and save you a little time, too).
  • 2:00 – 2:15 Eastern: Dana Trent Q&A
  • 2:15 – 2:30 Eastern: Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15 Eastern: Dana Trent presentation: Pulling Back the Curtain on Creative Nonfiction: A Reader’s Insider View
    • As an avid reader of creative nonfiction, I love learning how a book idea travels from a writer’s mind to the reader’s hands. As the author of four books in this genre, I make new discoveries in this process each time I publish. “Pulling Back the Curtain on Creative Nonfiction: A Reader’s Insider View” will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the story behind the story–including how books are snapshots in a writer’s craft, their readerly sensibilities, and their life.
  • 3:30 – 4:15 Eastern: Dana Trent Q&A and group discussion
  • 4:15 – 5:15 Eastern: Jessica Miller Kelley (Westminster John Knox Press) book discussion and group discussion
  • 5:15 – 8:00 Eastern: Break
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Eastern: Tony Jones book discussion and group discussion

Tuesday June 23 – Eastern time

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Eastern: Kathryn Helmers (literary agent) presentation: YOU AND YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS: Five steps to a more satisfying relationship
    • A far better end goal than success for writers and authors is sustainability. By drilling down into the who, what, when, where, and why of your creative process, we will explore how discerning your unique balance of process and outcome can help you get traction on your path as a creative person. Kathy’s slides are here.
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Eastern: Kathryn Helmers (literary agent) Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Eastern: Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Eastern: Kathryn Helmers (literary agent) presentation: YOU’RE A WRITER, NOW WHAT? Strategizing your author platform
    • Unless your writing is directed only to Dear Diary, you’re in it because you have something you want to say and you want someone to hear it. Once you have a plan for balancing process against outcome, it’s decision time when the rubber meets the road in getting your content out to your audience. We’ll explore components of author platform and best practices for creating your own unique strategy for building your audience. Kathy’s slides are here.
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Eastern: Kathryn Helmers (literary agent) Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Lisa Crayton presentation: Discovering Your Gifts for Writing
    • Maximize your potential by connecting your spiritual gifts to your publishing efforts. Learn what types of manuscripts are best suited for particular spiritual gifts. Discover how to target appropriate markets, while becoming a writer editors love to work with. Relates to writing fiction and nonfiction, and writing material of varying lengths from articles to books. Lisa’s slides are here.
  • 2:00 – 2:15 Eastern: Lisa Crayton Q&A
  • 2:15 – 2:30 Eastern: Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15 Eastern: Lisa Crayton presentation: Tell the Truth: Write Nonfiction for Children
    • Fiction is not the only literary child on the block. Rather, kids and teens need—and want—nonfiction material too. And thanks to spiritual formation needs, curriculum standards and children’s reading interests, opportunities abound for writing nonfiction for children. Discover keys to unlocking success in a genre with increasing market and income opportunities. Covers idea generation to publication, including market needs, pitching tips, and current opportunities. Lisa’s slides are here.
  • 3:30 – 4:15 Eastern: Lisa Crayton Q&A and group discussion
  • 4:15 – 5:15 Eastern: Kate Rademacher book discussion and group discussion
  • 5:15 – 6:15 Eastern: Kari van Wakeren book discussion and group discussion

Wednesday June 24 – Eastern time

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Eastern: Jennifer Grant presentation: So…You Wanna Write a Picture Book!
    • We loved them as children and—even though we might not admit it—picture books are still some of our favorite books to read. Many of us also secretly dream of writing for kids but we have no idea where to begin. How many words or pages long are picture books? What are the different kinds of picture books? Can I illustrate my own work? Must my story have a happy ending? What are editors looking for? How hard can it be to write one? In this session, Jennifer Grant (award-winning author of three picture books, with several more launching over the next few years) will introduce the genre, cover the basics, talk through examples of some of her favorite books for kids, and share resources to help you as you venture into children’s literature.
    • Jen’s slides are here
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Eastern: Jennifer Grant Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Eastern: Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Eastern: Jennifer Grant presentation: I’m Nobody? Who Are You? Battling Impostor Syndrome So You Can Move Forward and Do Your Good Work
    • Everyone suffers from Impostor Syndrome from time to time. When we’re experiencing it, we engage in negative self-talk and hold ourselves back from the opportunities and positive relationships that would move us toward meeting our goals. We start believing self-sabotaging messages such as “I’m a fake!” or “I have no idea what I’m doing!” The good news is that there are proven strategies that can be used to combat these thoughts and allow you to move forward in your work. In this session, Jennifer Grant will define Impostor Syndrome, share some good news about what it means to experience it, and give you tools you can use when you’re experiencing it.
    • Jen’s slides are here
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Eastern: Jennifer Grant Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) presentation: Literary Agent: An Author’s Best Friend – Part 1: Acquiring an Agent
    • Finding the right agent is critical to an author’s publishing career, sometimes making or breaking it. In this three-session series, Jevon will discuss the important relationship between author and literary agent. You will learn how literary agents serve authors in the following ways:
      • Negotiating the best publishing relationships for their authors
      • Helping them establish and fulfill publishing goals and benchmarks
      • Working with you to develop winning book concepts and manuscript publishers will love
      • And advocating and liaising for you behind publishers’ closed doors

      You will also learn how to find the right literary agent for you, what you should expect and not expect from the relationship, and how to keep a long, productive, and flourish chemistry between the two of you as your influence grows.

  • 2:00 – 2:15 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) Q&A
  • 2:15 – 2:30 Eastern: Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) presentation: Literary Agent: An Author’s Best Friend – Part 2: The Pitching Process
    • Finding the right agent is critical to an author’s publishing career, sometimes making or breaking it. In this three-session series, Jevon will discuss the important relationship between author and literary agent. You will learn how literary agents serve authors in the following ways:
      • Negotiating the best publishing relationships for their authors
      • Helping them establish and fulfill publishing goals and benchmarks
      • Working with you to develop winning book concepts and manuscript publishers will love
      • And advocating and liaising for you behind publishers’ closed doors

      You will also learn how to find the right literary agent for you, what you should expect and not expect from the relationship, and how to keep a long, productive, and flourish chemistry between the two of you as your influence grows.

  • 3:30 – 4:15 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) Q&A and group discussion
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) presentation: Literary Agent: An Author’s Best Friend – Building Relationship with Publisher and Reader
    • Finding the right agent is critical to an author’s publishing career, sometimes making or breaking it. In this three-session series, Jevon will discuss the important relationship between author and literary agent. You will learn how literary agents serve authors in the following ways:
      • Negotiating the best publishing relationships for their authors
      • Helping them establish and fulfill publishing goals and benchmarks
      • Working with you to develop winning book concepts and manuscript publishers will love
      • And advocating and liaising for you behind publishers’ closed doors

      You will also learn how to find the right literary agent for you, what you should expect and not expect from the relationship, and how to keep a long, productive, and flourish chemistry between the two of you as your influence grows.

  • 5:15 – 5:30 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) Q&A
  • 5:45 – 6:15 Eastern: Brian Allain Q&A

Thursday June 25 – Eastern time

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Eastern: Kathy Izard presentation: Dream it. Write it. Publish it.
    • Kathy Izard started with a New Year’s resolution on Dec 31, 2010, that she would finally write something longer than an email. While she had never written a book or planned to publish, Kathy had a story she felt needed to be told. It took thirteen drafts, six years, four workshops and two editors to complete that first book, but she finally self-published in 2016. Eighteen months later, Kathy signed a book deal and now, she has also written and published a children’s book. In this session, Kathy will teach you how to get your story into the world.
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Eastern: Kathy Izard Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Eastern: Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Eastern: Kathy Izard presentation: Living on Purpose: Never Too Late for Next Chapters
    • In 2007, Kathy Izard was looking for a different purpose for her life. Although she was a working mom with a successful advertising career, she was approaching empty-nesting and was restless to do something completely different with her life.  Kathy followed a series of disruptive nudges that led her to quit her job to begin working for the Urban Ministry Center transforming her life and ultimately, the lives of hundreds of chronically homeless men and women. She has published two books, one for adults and one for children, to encourage people of all ages to dream big and do good. Kathy will be sharing her inspiring story to encourage readers and writers that it is never too late for next chapters.
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Eastern: Kathy Izard Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:30 Eastern: Leighton Ford interview
    • Here is the poem written by Leighton and read during the interview.
  • 1:30 – 2:30 Eastern: Open mic readings
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Eastern: Jevon Bolden (literary agent) book discussion and group discussion
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Eastern: Kathryn Helmers (literary agent) group discussion
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Eastern: Niki Hardy book discussion and group discussion
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Eastern: Stephanie Williams O’Brien book discussion and group discussion

Friday June 26 – Eastern time

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Eastern: Dana Trent book discussion and group discussion
  • 9:30 – 10:30 Eastern: Kathy Izard book discussion and group discussion
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Eastern: Break
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Eastern: Barbara Brown Taylor book discussion and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Eastern: Jennifer Grant book discussion and group discussion
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Eastern: Lisa Crayton book discussion and group discussion
  • 3:00 – 3:45 Eastern: WordPlay presentation: Writing with Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul
    • How can you make the most of the gifts writing provides—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—for you and your readers? Come explore wholistic methods and mindsets that help you write with more ease, grace, and effectiveness so you can give your readers the best you have to offer—heart, mind, body, and soul.
    • Prompts and exercises from the presentation are here
  • 3:45 – 4:15 Eastern: WordPlay Q&A and group discussion
  • 4:15 – 5:15 Eastern: Erin Hall book discussion and group discussion

Monday June 29 – Central time

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Central: Colonial Church reflection and music
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Central: Barbara Brown Taylor keynote: Writing in Quarantine: The Ministry of the Given Word
  • 10:30 – 12:00 Central: Barbara Brown Taylor Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Central: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Central: Tony Jones presentation: Two Things Your Book NEEDS (And a Few More Things It Should Have)
    • Every non-fiction book needs two things. How does Tony Jones know that? Because he’s both an author and an acquisitions editor. He’s written books that have sold well, and others that haven’t. And he’s acquired and edited books that have sold well, and others that haven’t. This session will be a no-BS talk about how to write and sell books in today’s challenging publishing environment.
  • 2:00 – 2:15 Central: Tony Jones Q&A
  • 2:15 – 2:30 Central: Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15 Central: Tony Jones presentation: How the Publishing Industry REALLY Works
    • Getting published is intimidating, in large part because so much of the industry is hidden from authors. What is a fair advance amount? How about royalties? How do I know if they’ll market my book? Do I need an agent? Tony Jones will answer these questions and more in this session, tearing down the curtain that separates authors from the industry that publishes their books.
  • 3:30 – 4:15 Central: Tony Jones Q&A and group discussion
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Central: Lori Erickson presentation: Finding A Niche
    • Lori Erickson, who writes about the intersection of spirituality and travel, leads a discussion of how the most fruitful writing specialties are often a combination of interests. She’ll give advice on how you can identify your passions and find ways those topics can be combined to provide rich inspiration for your writing.
  • 5:15 – 5:30 Central: Lori Erickson Q&A
  • 5:30 – 7:00 Central: Break
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Central: Lori Erickson book discussion and group discussion

Tuesday June 30 – Central time

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Central: Patricia Raybon presentation: Race, Grace & Forgiveness? Can We Write Our Way to Racial Healing?
    • A candid and interactive exploration of how writers of every background can help heal racial wounds by writing truthfully about our racial struggles and journeys. But what’s required? How does one start? What narrative and spiritual elements make a “racial” story work for both writer, editor, and reader? Patricia Raybon, whose award-winning writing includes racial reflections in the New York Times, Newsweek, In Touch Magazine (In Touch Ministries), Our Daily Bread, Christianity Today, (in)courage at DaySpring, the Washington Post’s Acts of Faith — and whose memoir “My First White Friend” is a winner of a Christopher Award and a Books for a Better Life Award — shares personal and practical wisdom for courageous, reflective writers willing to take on the urgent conundrum of race.
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Central: Patricia Raybon Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Central: Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Central: Patricia Raybon presentation: Hallelujah, It’s a Book – What Famous Authors and Creatives Can Teach Writers About Life, Love, Work & Success
    • After enjoying a holiday performance of Handel’s Messiah, author Patricia Raybon was surprised to discover it was written in just 24 days — including its famed Hallelujah Chorus — by the composer George Frideric Handel. Then there’s Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize-winning author, who took her first writing workshop “just for fun,” leading to her first novel, The Bluest Eye, released when she was almost 40. Also, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda? He was on vacation in Mexico, reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton, when he couldn’t believe the story hadn’t been made into a hip-hop musical — now the smash Broadway hit Hamilton. How did these and other accomplished creatives reach their these artistic and life goals? Indeed, what do such artists teach the rest of us about life, love, work, and successful living? Join Patricia’s workshop for some intriguing answers.
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Central: Patricia Raybon  Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Central: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Central: Lisa Kloskin (Broadleaf Books / Fortress Press) presentation: What Your Publisher Should Do for You, and What They Won’t
    • 21st century book publishing is always a collaboration between the author and the publisher. Publishers rely heavily on author platform and author networks to promote books, but you can, and should, expect a certain level of support from your publisher. Learn what to expect, what you’ll likely have to manage yourself, and how to advocate for yourself.
  • 2:00 – 2:15 Central: Lisa Kloskin (Broadleaf Books / Fortress Press) Q&A
  • 2:15 – 2:30 Central: Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15 Central: Lisa Kloskin (Broadleaf Books / Fortress Press) presentation: Not Another Memoir: How to Use Your Personal Story in More Compelling Ways
    • Publishers review an onslaught of memoir book proposals each season. Learn about the challenges of the memoir genre and how to use your personal story in other genres and in more compelling ways to create a book that will really stand out.
  • 3:30 – 4:15 Central: Lisa Kloskin (Broadleaf Books / Fortress Press) Q&A and group discussion
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Central: Jeff Munroe presentation: Reading Frederick Buechner
    • Frederick Buechner’s remarkable writing career spanned almost six decades and produced 40 books. He is the only ordained minister nominated for two of our top literary awards in fiction: the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. He is also a compelling memoirist, essayist, and preacher. Until recently, there had not been an accessible introduction and guide to his work. Jeffrey Munroe, the author of Reading Buechner, will present an overview of Buechner’s remarkable career, as well as tell how a Writing for Your Life conference led to the publication of his book.
  • 5:15 – 6:00 Central: Jeff Munroe Q&A and group discussion

Wednesday July 1 – Central time

  • 7:30 – 8:15 Central: Jeff Munroe presentation: Precise and Concise
    • Regardless of what you’re writing, from a blog post to a poem to a novel, good writing is precise and concise. In this workshop, best-selling author Jeffrey Munroe will lead you through hands-on participative exercises to help your writing be more precise and concise. We’ll explore common grammatical mistakes that prevent your submissions from serious consideration and we’ll talk about the writing process in practical and (mildly) technical terms. Come prepared to laugh, to write, and to learn.
  • 8:15 – 8:30 Central: Jeff Munroe Q&A
  • 8:30 – 9:15 Central: Lori Erickson presentation: Building a Platform
    • Lori Erickson will share her experiences in writing for magazines, newspapers, online sites, social media, book publishers, and her own monthly newsletter. Learn how you can build a platform that extends into different types of publishing and reaches varied audiences.
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Central: Lori Erickson Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Central: Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Central: Lori Erickson presentation: Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper
    • After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Her book Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper is the result, a travelogue of places that have helped her come to terms with mortality, from the Valley of the Kings in Egypt to her mother’s nursing home. Foreword Reviews calls it “an ideal guidebook for facing the inevitable.” Ira Byock, author of Dying Well and The Best Care Possible, describes it as “open-hearted and soulful, never morbid, and often uplifting.” Lori will talk about her new book and what she’s learned from traveling with the Grim Reaper.
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Central: Lori Erickson Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Central: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Central: Jessica Miller Kelley (Westminster John Knox Press) presentation: “Five Things NOT to Say in a Book Proposal”
    • Learn the basics of crafting a compelling book proposal while avoiding some of the common blunders that raise red flags for acquisitions editors. Beyond the obvious missteps like typos and crazy fonts, there are things that might seem positive but actually send the wrong message to prospective publishers. Unpacking these five potential pitfalls, we will explore many more things to know about making the right first impression for yourself and your book.
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Central: Jessica Miller Kelley (Westminster John Knox Press) Q&A and group discussion
  • 2:45 – 3:00 Central: Break
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Central: Lisa Kloskin (Broadleaf Books / Fortress Press) book discussion and group discussion
  • 4:00 – 4:45 Central: Roger Freet (literary agent) presentation: What Are Editors Looking For?
    • Why do editors acquire certain book projects and not others? What criteria inform those editorial decisions and how can authors encourage publishers to say yes?  Having been on both the buying and selling side of the equation, this session will explore this often asked question to equip authors to make strategic decisions about your first book or your next bestseller.
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Central: Roger Freet (literary agent) Q&A and group discussion

Thursday July 2 – Central time

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew presentation: Writing the Sacred Journey:  The Art & Practice of Spiritual Memoir
    • Each of us has a sacred story written uniquely for us within our experiences.  When we look for holiness in the details of our memories, when we open ourselves to transformation as we write, and when we craft our stories to engage the inner life of an audience, we venture into spiritual memoir. We will get started with the basics, using writing exercises and examples from master writers.
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew Q&A
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Central: Break
  • 10:00 – 10:45 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew presentation: Living Revision
    • At its core, revision is the work of transformation—of seeing text, and therefore the world, with new eyes.  Done well, revision returns writers to our original love for writing and the subject. The more we’re moved in the writing, the more potential our writing has to move others.  Let’s revise our ideas about revision, exploring it as a form of play, a means of listening, and as our central work as human beings.
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew Q&A and group discussion
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Central: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew presentation: A Life on Fire:  Reading Spiritual Memoir
    • Bookstores and publishers like to break memoir into subcategories like “travel memoir” and “recovery memoir.”  What few people know is that “spiritual memoir” isn’t a subcategory of memoir; it’s memoir’s predecessor. What is spiritual memoir?  How have memoir’s African Christian origins shaped personal narrative today? How do the stories of others’ inner lives change how we understand what’s sacred?  We’ll hop, skip, and jump through a lineage of great memoirs, landing today at spiritual memoir’s renaissance.
  • 2:00 – 2:15 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew Q&A
  • 2:15 – 2:30 Central: Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15 Central: Susan Salley (Abingdon Press) presentation: “Writing with Purpose: Three Questions”
    • Can you describe your message and audience in 60 seconds? Publishers want clarity and a razor sharp focus on the primary audience, why they will choose your book, and what will change in their lives from the experience.  If you are intentional and focused through your process from start to finish,  the benefit to the reader will be in the spotlight in the finished content as well as from the title to the packaging to the layout and marketing.
  • 3:30 – 4:45 Central: Susan Salley (Abingdon Press) Q&A,  book discussion, and group discussion
  • 4:45 – 5:45 Central: Brian Allain presentation: Many Paths to Publishing
    • In this “virtual panel” we view several video interviews with authors where they describe how they got their first, or subsequent, book deal(s). Our panel members are Sarah Arthur, Sophfronia Scott, Jeff Munroe, Jennifer Grant, Patricia Raybon, and Kathy Izard. Also bonus thoughts from literary agent Kathryn Helmers describing the roles of an agent.
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Central: Break
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Central: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew book discussion and group discussion

Friday July 3 – Central time