Marsha Ward

Historical Novels with Heart & Grit

Page 2 of 23

Business of Writing Workshop

During the last half of October, I took an epic road trip to attend an 8-day workshop in Lincoln City, Oregon, hosted by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, two writers I count as mentors in the business of writing. I’ve learned so much over the past four or so years by reading their blogs regularly, but an opportunity came up to attend this workshop on the Oregon Coast and meet them in person, and I had to jump on it.

The venue for the workshop was the Inn at Spanish Head, a ten-story resort hotel on the beach built into a cliff. On the landward side, the reception area is on the ninth floor. The conference room is on the fourth floor. I wasn’t the only one who became confused about whether one went up or down when entering the elevator.

The overall theme of the workshop was Time, since it’s in such short supply for writers, whether indie, hybrid, or traditional. From 7 pm on October 21 to 9:30 pm on October 28, in three sessions a day plus late-night networking, I, and about forty-nine other professional writers, madly took notes on such topics as productivity, tracking output, deadlines, writing process for both linear and non-linear writers, health, separating the businesses of writing and publishing, making short- and long-term business decisions, structures of corporations, estate planning for authors, copyright, trusts, triage as a business plan, branding, virtual assistants, and the true meaning of hybrid.

Workshop attendees

Faces erased at the request of attendees.

Please note that we covered that extensive list of topics by the end of Monday’s sessions. There were a ton more each day, and I’m still working my way through the incredible amount of knowledge and information. I expect it will be a year-long endeavor.

One thing that was impressed upon us is that we must not make any business decisions and change up our plans for at least the two weeks minimum that it will take for our brains to heal from exploding with the input of all the new facts. Another was that “should do’s” and “supposed to do’s” are deadly, evil beyond imagination. We must choose to do only what works for our style and methods of writing and publishing.

Since I traveled for several days before arriving home, my brain still hasn’t adjusted to all the new knowledge. I have my work cut out for me as the holidays approach. I must not be pressured, though, by my inner panic to DO SOMETHING NOW! I have to study and decide what will work for me.

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On my way to Oregon

I recently took an epic road trip to a workshop on the business of writing fiction, and on the way, I saw this intriguing mountain outside Weed, California.

Here’s another, closer view of what I now know is Black Butte:

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Writers Conference


I spent a few days last week (Thu-Sat) down in Gilbert for the 25th Annual Writers Conference put on by American Night Writers Association (ANWA), which is a writers group I started back in 1986. I had a ton of fun, seeing long-time friends again, “meeting” face-to-face with long-time Facebook and email friends, and enjoying the energy of so many like-minded souls together.

The highlight of my trip was a class I gave for two hours on Saturday afternoon. There were several talented writers who attended and found themselves validated in their writing style. It was a joyful class, and I loved being the bringer of that joy.

Have you ever attended a writers conference? What did you take away from the experience?

*Photos by Deb Eaton

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