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Spring will soon be upon Minnesota, and along with the warm sunshine, puddles of melted snow, and return of the red-winged blackbirds come writing events aplenty for the state’s word-loving youth. From young writer’s conferences to Minnesota’s first weekend-long word festival, the spring of 2019 offers a range of options for Minnesota students to grow their craft and hone their skills. So without further ado, check out these eight spring writing events for Minnesota students and choose the one (or several!) that suits your writing fancy:

Wordplay 2019

When: May 11-12, 2019

Where: Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

Whether you’re a writer, avid reader, or lover of words, this brand-new event hosted at The Loft in Minneapolis has something for everyone.  The weekend-long festival promises to be “Minnesota’s largest celebration of readers, writers, and great books,” complete with famous authors (including Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Mitch Albom), workshops, book signings, activities, and books galore. For more information on Wordplay for Minnesota youth, adults, and families, visit the website.

South Central Service Cooperative’s Young Writers and Artists Conference 2019

When: March 12-13, 2019

Where: Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato

Hosted by the South Central Service Cooperative (SCSC), this writing conference targets students in grades 3 to 8 living in the Mankato area. You’ll enjoy a keynote presentation by songwriter Ken Lonnquist, along with a variety of breakout sessions, from writing about extreme sports to creating a murder mystery. The cost to participate in the SCSC conference runs $27 to $37, depending on how soon you register for the event.

Southeast Service Cooperative's Young Authors, Young Artists Conference 2019

When: May 21-23, 2019

Where: Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester, Minnesota

The Southeast Service Cooperative’s Young Authors, Young Artists Conference caters to students in grades 3 to 5 living in southeast Minnesota. (The SSC’s conference for grades 6 to 8 is held in the fall.) The focus of this conference is “to promote student enthusiasm and competence in written and visual communication” and includes a keynote speaker and three breakout sessions. More information will be available on the website as the conference date nears.

Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable 2019 Internship Fair

When: March 19, 2019

Where: Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

Are you an older student looking for an internship in the field of writing and publishing? Plan to head to the MBPR’s annual internship fair, where you can meet Minnesota magazine and book publishers and discuss internship possibilities, both paid and for academic credit. Bring at least 10 copies of your resume. Check out the details here.

Success Beyond the Classroom Young Author’s Conference 2019

When: May 28-31, 2019

Where: Bethel University, Arden Hills, MN

Registration Deadline: February 28, 2019

This is the second Young Author’s Conference of the year held at Bethel. Students in grades 4 through 8 can spend the day learning from professional Minnesota Authors. The theme of this conference is “Expect the Unexpected! Where Will Writing Take You?” and includes breakout sessions along with a keynote address. Some fun extras? Open mic, a book fair, and live music. Early bird registration has passed, but there are still a few days to register for the conference.

2019 Camp NaNoWriMo

When: April 2019

Where: Anywhere!

Although this event is open to any young writer anywhere, Minnesota students would be well served to consider this rewarding longtime writing event. You can chat on the forum with other Minnesota students who are trying their hand at novel writing, poetry, or short stories, plus there are many weekly events to prepare for your writing endeavor. This virtual writing retreat can pay off big in creativity, writing practice, and networking. Check it out here.

Lakes Country Service Cooperative's Young Writer’s Conference 2019

When: Spring 2019

Where: 1001 E. Mount Faith, Fergus Falls, MN

Held every spring, the LCSC Young Writer’s Conference is an opportunity for students in grades 3 to 7 living in an around Fergus Falls to attend classes taught by Minnesota authors and other artists, including storytellers, puppeteers, and illustrators. For more information and updates on the timing and details of this conference, please visit the website.

Kate DiCamillo – A Piglet Named Mercy Tour

When: April 6, 2019, 1-4 pm

Where: Barnes & Noble Apache, Rochester, MN

Favorite Minnesota children’s author Kate DiCamillo will be appearing at the Rochester Barnes and Noble bookstore to talk about A Piglet Named Mercy, the picture book prequel to the New York Times-bestselling Mercy Watson series. No matter your age, this is a great way for aspiring  writers to see one of the top Minnesota children’s authors in person and learn what goes into the writing and publishing of a successful children’s book. Information is available on the B&N website.

If you’re a Minnesota student who likes to write, make this spring an eventful one. There’s plenty here to choose from and you’ll gain knowledge and skills that can help advance your writing craft—and your dream of being an author.

 

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Ah, summer in Minnesota, the season of cool lakes, warm breezes, lush parks, and spectacular wildlife. But don’t just soak it all up; write about it. If you’ve been itching to try your hand (and talent) at writing and you live in Minnesota, you’re in luck. The best time of year to get started is right around the corner. Summer in Minnesota offers writing opportunities and ideas galore, plus you’ll have plenty of resources at your fingertips thanks to the state’s thriving writing community.

Ready to delve into a writing career? Make summer in Minnesota the time and place you begin. These three tips will help you get started:

Attend a Summer Class or Conference

Taking a class or attending a conference or workshop is a great way to learn the craft of writing, get some feedback, and practice your skills. The best part? You can find just about any type of class or conference in Minnesota during summer. Got a passion for Christian writing? Check out the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul in July. Interested in writing poetry, science fiction, or memoir? Head over to the Loft Literary Center, where you’ll find plenty of writing class pickings. Young writers can enroll in Hamline University’s Young Writers Workshop in June. Or, check out your local community education program for a list of summer writing courses nearby.

Write Outside—or Lakeside

Embarking on a writing career begins with an interest in writing—and a lot of doing it. The great Minnesota outdoors has all the venues you need to inspire your creativity, especially during summer. Grab your writing materials and head to your favorite spot outside—a shaded park bench, beneath a tall oak, or nestled in the backyard hammock. For some extra inspiration, seek out one of the state’s many lakes. You’d be surprised at all the ideas that can pop into your head when out on the lake, sitting near one, or just researching the history and beauty of a Minnesota lake. Not only that, lakes bring on a sense of calm and serenity that can unclutter the mind and get your creativity flowing.

Connect with Minnesota Writers

While there’s a vast network of authors and writers in Minnesota, getting connected takes diligence. Start by contacting writing organizations that interest you and consider joining a local or regional chapter. Many organizations host meetings or summertime events and provide opportunities to meet new writer friends and learn the ropes of writing. You might also look into joining a Minnesota writing meetup, where you can connect with like-minded writers and attend gatherings or critique groups. For something less formal, network with Minnesota writers through social media and plan some fun summertime meetups of your own. Summer is an ideal time to get around town and make friends with other writers, when the weather is at its best.

There’s no time like the now to get started as a writer in Minnesota. Take advantage of the summer season and all the potential it holds, and watch your writing career blossom and flourish.

Image by Pete Markham

 

 

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fall-park-benchEvery year, I get excited about fall. It’s not just because I can start wearing sweaters and jeans again; I like everything about fall - the weather, the changing colors, the approaching holidays, and especially the peace and quiet. Fall is my favorite time to reflect. And write.

But if you’re like me, sometimes it takes a minute to get out of summer mode. The slower pace of August isn’t that easy to part ways with, even though the computer beckons.

What works well for me is doing something new and different to jumpstart my Autumn writing routine. Fortunately, fall is rife with options that are motivating, fun, and profitable. Check out these fall writing activities, and make this autumn your best writing season yet.

Write a Halloween Article or Story

If you’re a web content writer, there are all kinds of Halloween-related article ideas that are sure to sell, like Halloween safety tips, nutrition-based treats, modern-day costume ideas, or the latest Halloween apps. Halloween stories and articles for kids are big sellers, too. Look for Halloween writing contests for places to submit.

Get Ready for the Holidays

October is a great month to start writing for the winter holidays. Article buyers seek material months in advance, so get writing and submitting now. You may have a quick sale if it’s unique and well written. One thing’s for certain: holiday-themed writing is always in demand.

Write Outside

What better time to write outside than on a beautiful fall afternoon? The gorgeous colors, cool temperatures, and light breezes make being outside refreshing and inspiring. Head to the park, sit outside at the public library or pull up a comfy chair on the patio. A change of scene can be highly fruitful for your writing career.

Take a Hike with Your Notebook

Fall hikes are full of adventure - and writing ideas. Take a nature hike with your notebook and jot down whatever captures your attention. Hikes are exceptionally visual activities that can spark all kinds of thoughts, emotions, and sensory descriptions. Be sure your notebook fits in a pack or your pocket, and don’t forget a writing utensil.

Attend a Conference

Fall is loaded with conferences and the perfect time of year to attend one. If you’ve got kids, check into writing conferences that you can do together. Not sure where to look for a conference? Try local writing organizations, colleges or the public library, or look online.

Don’t let fall slip by without taking advantage of this great writing season. Try any of the above fall writing activities, and make autumn productively pleasing from start to finish.

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Attending a writing event is a great way for writers to learn, network, and make some friends. And with so many options offered, it’s easy to find something that suits your needs or wants. But before registering for a writing event – which may or may not involve a fee – I have one recommendation: know what you’re signing up for.

I learned this recently, when I attended a writer’s workshop that was led by a local author. While I was expecting a lengthy presentation on the topic, followed by some writing and discussion, I got a brief presentation, a bit of discussion, but mostly writers doing exercises, reading from their manuscripts, and critiquing each other’s work. Yes, workshop implies work – and in this case, lots of it.

No one can predict exactly what will go on during a writing event, not even the event coordinator (who, in my situation, led me a tad astray), but knowing something about the typical format in advance helps. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of writing events available and what you might expect to get from each one:

  • Conference – an organized, day or longer writing event that involves large-group presentations and smaller, breakout sessions. Keynote speakers, book signings, manuscript critiques, social hours, and meals are often included.
  • Workshop – a hands-on learning session where participants perform writing exercises, discuss writing issues, and share their work for feedback.
  • Round table – implies an open discussion, where everyone has an equal voice; there is no leader or “head” of the table.
  • Forum – a general term that refers to a place where writers congregate to discuss, ask questions, get information, or conference, online or in person; sometimes a presenter leads.
  • Critique group – a meeting with a group of writers to read and analyze each other’s work.
  • Class – a course of study on a particular aspect of writing, led by an instructor.
  • Presentation – a writing professional speaks to a group, sharing expertise on a topic or experience; often includes a question-and-answer period.
  • Reading – a published author reads from his or her work; may involve a short presentation.

If you’re still confused about the format of an event, contact the person or organization hosting the event and try to get answers to your questions. And be sure to find out if preregistration is necessary and whether a fee is involved. Writing events are great resources for writers, but to make them worth your time and money, do the research first.

(Image by Rick Audet)