by Linda Murphy
I work with children and see the positive results when quality books are used for teaching. I often use books to create fun learning activities. In 2009 I began dreaming of seeing my own work in print in the form of a children’s picture book. In order for my dream to become a reality I realized I needed to gain insight into the world of publishing and improve my writing skills. “How-to Books” and websites on the topic indicated the importance of networking with fellow writers. I immediately connected with the BDWN organization when I attended my first meeting. The members are composed of a wide range of writers who enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise. When it was announced BDWN was having their first conference in 2010 I decided to attend. If a two hour monthly BDWN meeting was very helpful I concluded an 8 hour BDWN conference would be highly useful.
Like the guest speakers at the BDWN monthly meetings, the presenters at the “Write it Right” conference were individuals well established in the writing industry. These men and women are published authors writing for local and national publications. Several own writing related businesses and have published books to their credit. Knowing I could benefit from these professionals I carefully chose the four sessions that I felt would address my needs as a novice writer.
I will highlight the vast amount of information I acquired that day. The idea to submit my work to children’s magazines was fueled during Priscilla Huff’s session “Breaking into Magazine Writing: Beginner’s Basic.” She gave useful tips on how to choice and to pitch ideas to magazines. Rick Grant taught me the importance of setting goals and building a portfolio in his session “Effective Self- Promotion for Writers.” In Holly Landau’s “Build a Character” session a comprehensive outline on how to create compelling characters was reviewed. During Kathryn Craft’s “Get That Story Moving” session I learned I was guilty of performing several common story stalling techniques.
So what did I do with all this valuable information? I formulated specific writing goals which resulted in building a larger portfolio. Each new story I wrote included believable characters readers could be drawn to. I used every word, carefully improving the quality of the stories. Two of the stories have been submitted to editors to be critiqued. One story has been submitted to a writing contest. Another story will be pitched to a national magazine fitting its style and subject matter. I also had several articles published in a regional magazine.
If you have the desire to refine your writing skills or to get published in any form I highly recommend attending the “2011 BDWN Write It Right” conference. Who knows, the BDWN 2011 Write It Right conference may be the catalyst behind the creation of many new amazing stories that will get you closer to your writing dream!