My highlights from the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild Annual Conference

The Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild held it’s annual conference in mid-October and, as always, there was a lot to take in and a lot to learn. While I can’t possibly share everything, I do want to highlight some of the more memorable lessons I took away from each presentation I attended.

Keeping it Fresh: Survival Tactics

  • As writers, writing is a part of who we are. This means you have to believe in yourself and think of yourself as a real writer, no matter where you may be in relation to being published.
  • We need the support of other people, especially other writers. This likely means finding a trusted group or community you can be a part of.
  • Go on with a project, even if it means trying it in different forms (for example, as a play as opposed to a novel). Sometimes persevering means compromising.
  • Know yourself well enough to know what you need. This translates to a lot of things. Examples include learning whether it’s better for you to meet with a writing group once a week or once a month, and finding the self-care methods that work best for you.
  • Remember and be thankful for the things you’ve accomplished.

The Reclamation Project: In Conversation with Louise Halfe

  • Read, read read.
  • Research and explore. Give yourself the permission of non-judgmental expression.
  • Don’t argue with your muse, or her pace. For example, if she wants to write the story slowly, don’t try to rush it.

How to Succeed as a Nonfiction Writer

  • Find stories by getting to know your community. Be engaged with the world.
  • Know what you’re good at and focus on it. That doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t keep learning new things.
  • Trust your instincts, your education, and your experience.
  • Remember why you became a writer–don’t let it become a chore.

Art that Saves Lives and its Residue

  • A story can leave a mark on a reader, but it also leaves its mark on the writer.
  • Art that is honest has integrity and the power to keep us going through/bring us out of hard times.
  • Art can give the artist purpose and some, even if it’s small, power over their situation.
  • You have no control over what your art does/the effect that it has once it’s out in the world.

Q & A with an Author

  • When you’re stuck, look for another part to work on. That could provide new perspective when you return to the section you had trouble with.
  • A love for learning is an important part of writing.
  • Everyone has something to share, be it a story, wisdom, etc.
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