Keynote Speaker for #MWW22: Jane Friedman!

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for Writer’s Digest and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020.

Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing.

In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Post, Publishers Weekly, NPR, PBS, NBC, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

Jane has delivered keynotes and workshops on the digital era of authorship at worldwide industry events, including the Writer’s Digest annual conference, Stockholm Writers Festival, San Miguel Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, Frankfurt Book Fair, BookExpo America, and Digital Book World. She’s also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, and has held positions as a professor of writing, media, and publishing at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia.

In her spare time, Jane writes creative nonfiction, which has been included in the anthologies Every Father’s Daughter and Drinking Diaries. If you look hard enough, you can also find her embarrassing college poetry.

Find out more at https://janefriedman.com/

Jane Friedman has an established history with Midwest Writers Workshop:

My career, almost in its entirety, has been spent in service to writers and the writing and publishing community. I’ve attended hundreds of conferences over the years, and while they all have wonderful success stories (and their own special qualities), Midwest Writers has always been the event I go “home” to each year, to hit my own reset button and remember why I do the work that I do. I’ve watched writer-attendees from my very first years flourish into full-time authors, who then return as faculty—and sometimes join the committee. There is a strong tradition of giving back, of helping another writer up the ladder. The spirit is one of generosity and warm-heartedness.

She will deliver the keynote speech, “The Anxiety Talk: Answering the Unanswerable Questions.” You don’t want to miss out on this!

Check out the Full Faculty

Check out the Full Schedule

Q & A with Jane

Leah Lederman, MWW publicity chair, was thrilled to ask Jane Friedman some questions about her upcoming keynote speech. As ever, Jane’s responses were as much practical as they were inspiring, a gift to writers at any stage.

Hopefully you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

MWW: I’ve learned a lot from you about the nuts & bolts of an author career (thank you!), and I’m really excited to hear you talk about the emotional aspect of this strange writer path. What are some of the biggest and most common fears you’ve seen writers express, regarding their work—whether it’s in the mere creation of it, or in putting it “out there”?

JF: Writers get stuck in these lack of confidence loops, and it can stop progress before it even starts. Two of the biggest traps

Do I have talent? There’s a fear of looking foolish, like you’re obviously wasting your time because you can’t write well. The problem is that we all necessarily have to start by doing “bad” work. It takes time and practice to get better. You have to push through it and take satisfaction, even joy, in improving.

Am I too old, too young? Everyone is worried their age is working against them, even young writers, who sometimes feel they won’t be taken seriously. Yet there are few industries like writing and publishing where you can mostly do the work unseen by editors, agents or anyone else. No one has to know your age when you query, and anyway it’s not what you’re being judged on. You’re being judged on the writing or the story on the page. Worries about age is mainly a mindset issue. You can’t do anything about it. Press on with your work.

MWW: Writers definitely seek validation—I’ll be the first to admit it! What types of things have you seen authors qualify as “validation”?

JF: I’ve had writers ask me (since some perceive me as an authority) to rate their writing on a scale of 1 to 10 or ask whether I think it’s “worth it” to continue. They want assurance their writing is good enough to secure an agent or publisher. There’s fear of failure and avoidance of failure.

Probably the biggest piece of validation for authors who seek traditional publication is securing an agent and receiving a very large advance. Then, after publication, usually the biggest validation an author can receive is bestsellerdom, a review in a publication like the NY Times, or a big award.

MWW: But that validation never seems to last long. Do you often see writers achieve a sense of satisfaction or “done-ness” with their work or career?

JF: Almost never, but part of that is just the human condition. We’re never satisfied with what we have, we’re always looking at what we don’t have, or looking at someone else’s paper wondering if they have the answers. It’s natural and somewhat unavoidable. The key is to recognize these thoughts for what they are (unhelpful), and get back to work.

MWW: What do you advise writers pursue instead of that validation—or maybe, how do we access that from within?

JF: Consider: Why did you start writing in the first place? What’s motivating you to tell stories or spread a particular message? What’s that internal why? It doesn’t have to be something positive. You can harness anger at the system or a desire to expose wrongdoing or to warn the world.

When you focus for too long on outcomes (especially outcomes that are really about validation), you can forget what led you to writing to begin with. If you don’t like writing and only like the outcomes, then that’s problematic for sustaining a career. The validating outcomes don’t arrive all that frequently for writers!

MWW: Have you ever been surprised to find a successful and well-established writer who also suffers from self-sabotage traps? I’ve heard of a few who felt “imposter syndrome” and I wondered if there were other pitfalls you’ve seen in the writer world.

JF: Today almost every writer I know has imposter syndrome of one kind or another. Or they get stuck in the comparison trap with other writers. It’s totally normal. Success isn’t a remedy for this.

MWW: In other words, does it ever get easier?

JF: I think the only thing that does make it easier is repetition and consistency in your writing practice. The more you commit and put in the work, the more you realize that’s what it all amounts to. Showing up, day after day, no matter how you feel. That goes for both the good and bad times. You can have a stunning accomplishment, but the next day, you still have to write. Chop wood, carry water, the Zen saying goes.

MWW: How would you advise a writer to establish healthy, attainable goals for their work?

JF: Set goals that you have control over. You can’t control what sort of publisher you’ll get, the size of advance, the number of sales, who will review you, etc. But you can control your own work habits.

There are takeaways for everyone, no matter your genre.

MWW22 is an important opportunity for you to network with others and build a writing community for yourself. 

REGISTER TODAY!

Faculty Katrina Kittle has Encouraging Words for You!

Katrina Kittle is the author of Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, The Kindness of Strangers (winner of the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction), The Blessings of the Animals, and Reasons to Be Happy. Katrina’s new novel, Morning in This Broken World, is forthcoming in June of 2023. She teaches creative writing workshops through Word’s Worth Writing Connections, focusing on craft and motivation (and is especially good at jumpstarting stalled writers). She is a public speaker, most often leading her “Leap and the Net Will Appear” and “Happy Class” workshops. She has been on faculty for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, the Chicago Writers Association Conference, The Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, and the Writer’s Block Conference in Louisville. She is currently a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Dayton. Katrina has a thing for goats, gardening, and going barefoot; and is addicted to coffee, pedicures, and movies. She is on Instagram and Twitter @katrinakittle.

Find out more at https://katrinakittle.com/

Katrina will teach the sessions “Wooing Your Muse: Reclaiming Your Pre-Pandemic Moho and Jumpstarting Your Writing Practice” and “Revision: Approached It Like Triage,” and as a panel member for “Point of Entry (about novel openings)”.

Check out the Full Faculty

Check out the Full Schedule

Q&A with Katrina Kittle

Leah Lederman, MWW publicity chair, had a few questions for Katrina Kittle about her upcoming sessions and her outlook on writing. Hopefully you find this interview as refreshing as we did!

MWW: Many writers have created new routines for ourselves in the midst of COVID. What does dedicating time to your craft right now look like for you and what are your top two tips for writers who feel stalled during this time?

KK: Early morning is my magical, creative time. I try to pay myself first by allowing myself this best productive time for my writing. Also, I try to prepare my desk and space the night before, so that there’s nothing that hinders me falling right into the creative work. I prepare my mental space, too, by giving a bit of thought the night before to the writing goal I want to accomplish in the morning.

MWW: Oftentimes writers have a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to writing. What is some advice that you give to your students that you wish you did more of in your own writing?

KK: I wish I’d get better at grabbing little bits of time throughout the day, rather than waiting for big chunks of uninterrupted time. Just doing a ten-minute freewrite can create a sparkling gem! And those ten minutes can accumulate.

MWW: What are the most satisfying aspects of the writing process for you? Conversely, what are the most frustrating or difficult aspects of writing, and how do you cope with those issues?

KK: I really do love all parts of the process, but I think the first draft can be a little terrifying. Writing the rough draft is full of great discovery, but it feels a little like trying to corral a wild animal. Every day, there’s the fear it will run away and disappear and all the work will be lost. After I “capture” the first draft I relax and enjoy the revision process even more. To cope with that out-of-control, tenuous feeling of the first draft requires a daily leap of faith. I focus solely on getting words on the page–quantity over quality. Just catch the words, catch the words. I’ll “tame” the words later.

MWW: In The Writing Life, Annie Dillard says “Several delusions weaken the writer’s resolve to throw away work.” Talk about a time you edited something out of a book that was difficult. Why did you make the decision to remove it and how did it change the story?

KK: It’s always so difficult to throw something away…but it almost always makes the book better. You never want to leave something in just because it was difficult to write or you worked really hard to create or research it–if it doesn’t serve the story, it needs to go. My novel The Kindness of Strangers centers around a case of child sexual abuse (I know that sounds horribly depressing, but there are no scenes of the abuse actually happening! The story begins with the discovery of the abuse, so it’s really about how a community heals) and one woman Sarah’s experience being an emergency foster mom for the abused son of her dear friend. In an early draft, Sarah’s husband was alive, and as my writing group read the opening chapters they said they suspected Sarah’s husband in the abuse because he was a doctor who worked with the abused boy’s mother. Horrified, I wrote a lot of scenes showing Roy to be a model father and husband, trying to get rid of their suspicion, but then my writing friends said things like, “Something really big is going to happen with Roy because you’re giving him so much page time.” I was so frustrated! I remembered wishing Roy was just dead…and then realized that’s exactly what the book needed: for Sarah to be a recent widow. Having her be a grieving widow fit the research even better. Pedophiles go after families where the adults are distracted–from death, illness, divorce, etc.–and the children are hungry for adult attention. Removing him obviously caused a lot of work, although many scenes could still exist as memories and flashbacks. Removing him raised the personal stakes and enriched the story. Having a healthy, intact family reach out to help someone is an okay story. But having a broken, grieving family find the strength to reach out to help someone worse off than they are–and have that help be what actually begins to heal them–is a much better story.

MWW: What resources would you recommend for writers to learn proper revision techniques (aside from your course)?

KK: Tiffany Yates Martin has a fabulous book–Intuitive Editing–that I can’t recommend enough. It’s so helpful and hands on about how to recognize issues in your own work and how to fix them. But any time you can see a before and after revision of a chapter or story, that can be like a master class in revision–to really dig in and look at each change, and how even the smallest changes can accumulate to really elevate and strengthen a piece of writing.

MWW: What’s your favorite takeaway from the session you’ll be teaching?

KK: For the Revision Session: Treat revision like triage–tackle the most “life-threatening” issues to the story first, then work your way to the “cosmetic” details. Both the storytelling and the language are equally important, but those revisions come in a particular order. For the Woo Your Muse Session: Treat your writing like a relationship–prepare for it, make it welcome, be creative about keeping it happy.

MWW: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar?

KK: A mountain goat! I’m a Capricorn anyway, but you have to be so stubborn and tenacious to be a writer. A little capriciousness doesn’t hurt, either!

 

There are takeaways for everyone, no matter your genre.

MWW22 is an important opportunity for you to network with others and build a writing community for yourself. 

REGISTER TODAY!

Kathleen Rooney Branches Across Genres — You Can, Too!

Kathleen Rooney is award-winning author of nine books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including the memoir Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object. She is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a collective of poets and their typewriters who compose poetry on demand. The author of the national best-seller Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press 2017), her most recent novel is Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey (Penguin, 2020) and her latest poetry collection Where Are the Snows will be published by Texas Review Press in Fall of 2022. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay, and teaches at DePaul.

Find out more at https://kathleenrooney.com/

During MWW22, Kathleen will teach the sessions “Poetry: Send in the Clowns” and “Memoir Writing Through Innocence and Experience,” and serve as a panel member for “Wearing Many Hats: How to Balance Your Regular Life and Your Writing Life.”

Check out the Full Faculty

Check out the Full Schedule

Q&A with Kathleen Rooney

Leah Lederman, MWW publicity chair, asked Kathleen Rooney some questions about her upcoming sessions. She had a lot of helpful advice about writing across genres, and ways to be in writing memoir.

Hopefully you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

MWW: Novels, poetry, memoir, and hybrid genres–you wear a lot of writing hats! What can writers learn by stretching themselves into new genres and media, and what advice do you have for writers venturing into new territories?

KR: There’s a lot to be gained from approaching the world through the eyes of a beginner, and that includes gains in your creative writing. When you’re branching out from what you see as your usual genre as a writer, the best advice I have is not to pass any judgments in advance if you can help it (like “I’m bad at poetry” or “I can’t be funny” or “I should just stick to fiction” or what have you) and let yourself have a beginner’s mind and see what happens as it happens.

MWW: How do you decide what medium is best suited for your topic? What makes one subject a poem and another a novel, for instance? Building on that, how does your process differ based on what you’re writing?

KR: In my own writing, the genre is often settled by questions of length and depth–if I feel like I want to be more aphoristic or evoke a particular idea or mood, I know it’s a poem. If I want to stretch out and digress and bring in a lot of other voices, I can tell it’s an essay or nonfiction prose piece. If I really want to explore a voice or character, then I can tell I need the expansiveness of a novel.

MWW: I’m a big fan of Rose Metal Press and love your books on craft. For a writer seeking to improve their work, do you recommend reading books on craft over reading books in their chosen genre, or—since we’ve discussed stretching into new genres—simply reading anything they can get their hands on? Is there a golden ratio?

KR: Thank you! No matter what a writer is writing, good input is key to good output, so I think reading as much as possible in terms of both examples of the genre you want to write in and craft books is the way to go. If you are the kind of person who can read multiple books at the same time, going from one to the other, I recommend that, but if not, you can always just alternate one complete book after the other. Also, reading periodicals and magazines both in print and online is a wise move because even if those things are not exactly featuring what you personally are attempting to write, you’ll be surprised at what you pick up anyway.

MWW: In The Art of Memoir, Mary Karr writes, “You think you know the story so well. It’s a mansion inside your head, each room just waiting to be described, but pretty much every memoirist I’ve ever talked to finds the walls of such rooms changing shape around her. There are shattering earthquakes, tectonic-plate-type shifts. Or it’s like memory is a snow globe that invariably gets shaken so as to shroud the events inside.” Can you talk about a time in your writing where you encountered a memory-situation like this, and how you worked through it?

KR: There’s this saying that gets attributed to all kinds of luminaries from E.M. Forster to Andre Gide, that’s something like “How can I know what I think until I see what I say?” and for me, those are the shifts and shakings that hit me most often when I’m writing nonfiction. I have what I consider to be a pretty good memory, so in my experience it’s less that the memory itself gets changed or shrouded and more that the way I feel and think about it or the way I fit it into the bigger narrative of who I am or what I’ve become feels slippery. In fact, that need to judge and categorize and explain is part of why I write essays and memoirs–I need to process my understanding of things that have happened and to figure out how I need to frame them in order to integrate and share and make sense of those events.

MWW: We’ve heard about trusting the reader, but how can we trust that we’ve given the reader enough information to draw their own conclusions? Do we have any control over whether they reach the conclusions we’ve intended?

KR: When I’m teaching, one of my favorite things to say is that “whatever else it is, a piece of writing is also a set of instructions for how it is to be read.” I believe that we have a lot of power over the way we present our stories and ideas, and we can use that power to push our readers to see what we want them to see and to arrive at the takeaways we hope they’ll take away. But power is different than control, so of course we can never control a reader’s reactions completely. But that’s kind of exciting–seeing what a given reader will do with your work.

MWW: What’s your favorite takeaway from the session you’ll be teaching?

KR: For my poetry class, my favorite takeaway is that a little bit–or a lot–of comedy and humor can make the other emotions you want to include pop. For my memoir class, my favorite takeaway is that life is less about “being” yourself than it is “becoming” yourself and if you cultivate the ability to shuffle back through your various previous selves, you’ll be a more sophisticated writer.

MWW: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar?

KR: A dolphin–playing around, having fun, and showing off a little.

There are takeaways for everyone, no matter your genre.

MWW22 is an important opportunity for you to network with others and build a writing community for yourself. 

REGISTER NOW!

MWW22 Faculty Mia P. Manansala has exciting news!

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a writer and certified book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture. Her debut novel, Arsenic and Adobo, is out now, and the sequel, Homicide and Halo-Halo, released February, 2022.

And let’s congratulate Mia because Arsenic and Adobo recently won the Agatha Award (from Malice Domestic) for Best First Novel!

Find out more at https://www.miamanansala.com

Mia will teach the sessions “How to Craft a Character That Can Carry a Series” and “The Inside Outline: The Perfect Tool for Outlining,” and as a panel member for “Point of Entry” (about novel openings). She is also on the MWW22 Manuscript Evaluation Team!

 

Check out the Full Faculty

Check out the Full Schedule

Q&A with Mia P. Manansala

Leah Lederman, MWW publicity chair, had a few questions for Mia P. Manansala about her sessions for MWW’s summer hybrid conference. She has helpful things to say that writers of any level can take to their practice.

Hopefully you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

MWW: You’re teaching a session about an easy outline method for writing books, the “Inside Outline.” It seems like something that could benefit outliners and pantsers alike. Are you an adamant outliner or do you find that there are specific times when pantsing might be advantageous?

MM: I’m a big proponent of “find the process that works for you.” The writing process varies from person to person and sometimes even from book to book, so I would never want it to seem like I’m delivering writing rules from on high. The Inside Outline is just another tool that a writer can utilize–the power is in its flexibility. You can use it to plan your book before drafting a single word, to figure out next steps when you get stuck midway through drafting, and/or to diagnose your book’s issues when it’s time to come up with a revision plan.

MWW: Your bio talks about your exploration of diverse voices. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters that are entirely unlike you, perhaps from a different gender, class, or race? How do you recommend writers approach this with sensitivity?

MM: For me, the most difficult thing is making sure that I’m doing these characters justice. That I’m not letting my ignorance and internal biases (which we all have) prevent me from writing a nuanced character rather than a flat caricature. I always recommend that you think of your characters as people–no group is a monolith, so making sure that you give each character the same attention to detail regarding backstory and nuance helps make them feel real. Second, get sensitivity reads and/or beta reads from people from those backgrounds. Again, no one can speak for their entire group, but hopefully they can pinpoint the areas that don’t feel right to them and make you think about your characters in a way you hadn’t before.

MWW: Your book Homicide and Halo-Halo came out in February–congratulations! Tell me, when you have a writing “win” how do you reward yourself?

MM: 99.9% of the time, a writing win means going out for a nice meal or sweet treat. If you can’t tell from my books, I LOVE food. If it’s a really big win, like signing a contract, I’ll shove aside my Midwestern frugalness to splurge on something I really want but would normally not buy.

MWW: When you’re creating characters, what elements of real live people do you use? Do you pull from people you know, people in history or celebrities, strangers on the street? How do you melt their attributes down into compelling characters? 

MM: I’ll take certain personality traits or quirks from people I know, and combine them with aspects I make up entirely. I don’t want any of my characters to be a discernible person, so I’ll decide each characters’ defining trait(s) and build around that.

MWW: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar?

MM: My website/author logo has a peacock feather because peacocks have my favorite color palette (purples, blues, and greens), but I’m not sure what that says about me as a writer!

There are takeaways for everyone, no matter your genre.

MWW22 is an important opportunity for you to network with others and build a writing community for yourself.

REGISTER NOW!

Stretch to the next level with MWW22!

MWW board member and writer Leah McNaughton Lederman encourages you to stretch your writing! 

Because I write primarily creative nonfiction, I aim for the creative nonfiction sessions at any conference I attend. Makes sense, right?

But then it happened: There wasn’t a creative nonfiction option available. Huh. Well, I supposed, a poetry session might work in a pinch.

Let me tell you, it most certainly worked.

Writing within the constraints of a different medium pulled ideas and phrases out of me that I didn’t know I had in me; it forced me to approach my ideas from a different angle and spilled my word-hoard in refreshing and delightful ways.

Now I make it a point to attend workshops outside of my chosen genre. After all, what piece of nonfiction couldn’t benefit from the scene setting, character building, and dialogue studied in fiction sessions? And the autobiographical elements of fiction can be finessed onto the page using the memory-mining techniques of nonfiction. Poetry’s precision of language and inside-out phrasing create a lyrical quality in your prose. All of these things will compel your readers to move forward and turn the page.

Of course, this isn’t an original revelation—some of you may even be thinking, “Well, duh.” But hey, it’s worth talking about. Especially as the Midwest Writers Workshop first-ever hybrid summer conference approaches…

We’re offering you the opportunity to attend ALL of our sessions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, plus research and the writing process! Heck, watch them more than once with the recordings you’ll receive. If you’re a fiction writer, you can try on some nonfiction; a nonfiction writer can wrestle their ideas into a poem, a poet can stretch their legs into an essay. Each session features a different type of word wrangling, planning, exposition, plotting, and pacing.

Challenge yourself! Your writing will gain depths and layers that will mesmerize your readers.

Join MWW this summer for our first-ever hybrid conference. You can attend in person at the beautiful Ball State Alumni Center, or sit in from wherever you’re located (pajamas recommended).

There are takeaways for everyone, no matter your genre. MWW22 is an important opportunity for you to network with others and build a writing community for yourself. 

Stay tuned! Future E-pistle newsletters and blogs will feature faculty members with videos and interviews. They will help you write your story!

~ Leah McNaughton Lederman

Registration available for MWW22 Hybrid Conference!

Join us for the 49th Midwest Writers Workshop

MWW22 Conference: Craft + Community

Thursday, July 14 – Saturday, July 16, 2022

MWW22 is our first ever hybrid conference! This July 14 – 16, whether you attend in person or online (using Zoom), we have top-notch instructors leading interactive sessions, enlightening panels on vital topics, and networking opportunities to help you expand your writing community. Our keynote speaker is Jane Friedman! 

This version of MWW allows us to offer plenty of instruction, networking, and the sense of community that makes MWW so special. Come to Muncie, Indiana, and join us at the beautiful Ball State Alumni Center for our 49th writers’ conference, or join us virtually wherever you’re located.

Our hybrid MWW22 includes:

**In-person sessions and/or Zoom video conferencing that feature a variety of topics determined by each faculty member, writing prompts, and vital, informative, enjoyable discussions to build your skills as a writer.

**A remarkable faculty who know their stuff, providing information for aspiring writers at all stages of their journey.

**Instruction led by renowned faculty for the genres of:

  • Fiction – Katrina Kittle
  • Fiction – Martin Seay
  • Fiction/Mystery – Mia P. Manansala
  • Fiction/Thriller – Matthew Clemens
  • Young Adult – Michelle Falkoff
  • Poetry/Memoir – Kathleen Rooney
  • Nonfiction/Essays – Jack Heffron
  • Thursday evening keynote: Jane Friedman
  • Friday evening: Angela Jackson-Brown, “Autopsy of a Novel”

Why attend?

Do you dream of getting your story out of your heart and into a book? It’s time to turn that dream into reality. We’ll help you get those words onto paper and craft your story into a powerful offering.

That’s the vision behind our mission statement and our passion to help writers. We’re dedicated to maintaining and building our MWW writing community to nurture writers at every stage of their journey, giving them the tools they need to improve their craft and achieve their publishing goals.

MWW22 is designed to guide you to the next step in your writing journey. Whether you’re a beginner with zero experience or you’ve been writing for years, you’ll want the collective wisdom of our conference faculty. These authors will empower you to dream, write, and publish the story inside you. 

 **Private Facebook Group plus evening “Talkabouts” for camaraderie and to build connections with other participants and faculty.

**Can’t attend all the sessions live? No problem. MWW is offering archival video access to ALL attendees for ALL sessions for three months following the conference.

The cost for our in-person MWW22 experience is $269 [reduced from $399!] 

No more having to choose among breakout sessions! Attend ALL sessions live or watch the recordings for up to three months later. This format encourages all writers to stretch beyond their genre and learn from every instructor.

We know that a writing conference can make your head with new information and inspiration when it’s all over! Our hybrid setup gives you the chance to go back and revisit the sessions. That way you can catch any content that you missed, rewatch sessions you found particularly helpful, or get inspired all over again!

The In-Person Experience:

  • Manuscript evaluations: Evaluation of your first five pages plus a one-page synopsis of a manuscript, completed or in progress. The $50 fee covers a 15-minute one-on-one in-person appointment during the conference.
  • Office Hour with each faculty: Have you ever wanted to sit with a published author and pick their brains on topics like: publishing, revising, or anything else that relates to becoming an author? This is your opportunity. You don’t need an appointment, just drop in for these informal sessions with our faculty members.
  • Meal fellowship with participants: Sign up for lunches (pre-order when you register) and hang out with other writers at the Ball State Alumni Center. (See FAQ for details.)
  • Ball State Bookstore on-site vendor: Purchase books by our MWW22 faculty and Board. Get them autographed!
  • MWW Consignment Bookstore: If you’re a published author attending in-person, you can sell your books at our consignment bookstore. (See FAQ for details.)
  • MWW merchandise: Take something home to commemorate your MWW22 experience!

Note* In-Person attendees will have virtual access to live sessions as well. Virtual attendees will have virtual access only.

The cost for our Virtual MWW22 experience is $199.

From the comfort of your home (think: pajamas!), enjoy sessions in real time, participating in a live chat with other writers who are joining virtually. Or tap back in later! Recordings of sessions will be available for three months after the conference.

Join us to be inspired and equipped for the next step in your writing journey!

Find the entire schedule: here.

Find the faculty bios: here.

Register HERE!

Jane Friedman talks marketing for writers

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for Writer’s Digest and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020.

MWW presents this Jane Friedman course: Magical Marketing Trifecta for Writers, Saturday, February 26, 2022.
Morning Session (10:30 am – 12:00 pm EST); 
Afternoon Session (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EST. Can’t attend the sessions live? No problem. MWW is offering archival video access for three months to ALL registered attendees.

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION ENDS 1/31! Register Now!

Most published authors have some kind of online presence, including a website and email newsletter or Facebook page, but they don’t have a clue what it means to develop a cohesive, smart approach that integrates them all. For writers who want to see their online activity pay off, it requires some high-level and strategic thinking about who that writing is meant to reach and who you want to attract over the long term. This course with Jane will look at key strategies and principles for using your website, online writing (such as blogging), email, and social media in concert with each other to better reach and engage readers, both new and old.

MWW: We are thrilled to have another event with you! What’s your connection to the Midwest and Midwest Writers Workshop?

JF: I began speaking at MWW in 2003, when I was an editor at Writer’s Digest magazine in Cincinnati. My boss at the time told me I should reach out to MWW and offer my speaking services, which I thought was rather bold and aggressive—but it worked! MWW said yes.

I continued speaking at MWW for the next 15 years—I think you can say that we’re a good fit. 🙂 I’m originally from Indiana and went to school in Muncie, so I have a lot of connections to the people and the place.

MWW: What’s the number one thing you’d like participants to walk away with after attending The Magical Marketing Trifecta for Writers?

JF: A sense that whatever work needs to be done, it can be done, sustainably, in a way that matches your strengths and values. Marketing doesn’t work unless you yourself believe in what you’re doing. You don’t have to follow the crowd or do it all or push yourself to do things you hate. While there are certain foundational steps and principles surrounding websites and email that I recommend, they are not out of reach for even the most busy, tech-averse writer. It’s a serious of small steps, one after the other. And there’s a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when you see the results of this work.

MWW: I often find incorrect or misleading advice out there for writers. What are some of the myths regarding the publishing industry’s expectations on author platform?

JF: There are a lot of misleading messages about needing a huge social media following in order to land a book deal or how you have to be active on all these different social media sites, or you need to do live video, etc. There are no “musts” here. You do not have to become some kind of superstar or influencer on social for it to be effective. It’s more about building relationships and connections with other people so you’re not working in isolation. No one wants to launch a book all alone. You want support. And social media is wonderful at building that community of support.

MWW: In what ways do you see the publishing industry changing in the next five years, and what effect will this have on writers aspiring to publish their work and maintain an online presence?

JF: More than half of all book sales now happen online, mostly at Amazon, regardless of format. That shift is only going to become more pronounced in the future. As more people discover and buy books online, an online presence becomes more important for marketing and promotion. If you have no website, no email newsletter, no online presence whatsoever, you’re making it much harder on yourself to spread the word about your book. Not impossible necessarily, just hard. The good news is that online tools offer both authors and publishers a wonderful amount of insight into who’s buying your books and where to find more readers.

MWW: Aside from your own excellent website and classes, what sources would you recommend for reliable information on publishing and online presence, and what’s the best way for writers to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry?

JF: The Writer’s Bridge is a good resource for platform building: https://thewritersbridge.com/

For industry updates, consider subscriptions to Publishers Weekly and/or Publishers Lunch. The Authors Guild and the Alliance of Independent Authors are wonderful organizations that also offer news, updates, and education on business topics and trends—for both members and non-members.

MWW: What’s the platform advice you find yourself giving to writers most often?

JF: Be patient. These things take time. Don’t abandon your efforts too early.

MWW: What are your favorite books to read?

JF: I love anything by Alain de Botton and The School of Life.

Join us and move forward with your writing goals!

22 Writing Affirmations for 2022

The new year is a great time to start fresh, reflect on our accomplishments from the past twelve months and consider what we’d like to do differently. It’s a time to set new goals!

And then somewhere around the second week, we lose track. Life gets in the way; we get in our own way.

It happens to all of us, so don’t beat yourself up! Here are 22 affirmations to keep you moving along. Read them out loud and remind yourself of them throughout the year. And add your own!

  1. I am a writer.
  2. I have a voice.
  3. My words matter.
  4. Someone out there is waiting for my words and needs to hear them.
  5. My words are worth making time for.
  6. I can let go of my writing obstacles; I can work around them.
  7. I don’t have to wait for inspiration, I just have to show up.
  8. My writing has something to show me.
  9. My words don’t have to be perfect.
  10. I have the power to create something beautiful. I can write scenes and images that resonate with my readers.
  11. Everything I need is within me.
  12. I am talented and hone my skills when I write.
  13. I can set goals and reach towards them one small step at a time.
  14. I define my writing successes.
  15. I deserve my writing successes and take satisfaction in them.
  16. Other people’s successes do not detract from mine.
  17. Constructive criticism strengthens my writing.
  18. Rejection is an opportunity for growth.
  19. I am not alone in my writing journey.
  20. I have opportunities to find and create writing communities.
  21. The Midwest Writers Workshop has my back.
  22. I got this.
And don’t forget: MWW is here to cheer you on!

Register for Jane Friedman’s The Magical Marketing Trifecta for Writers

MWW Virtual One-Day Conference with Jane Friedman

The Magical Marketing Trifecta for Writers

Saturday, February 26, 2022

  • Morning Session (10:30 am – 12:00 pm EST)
  • Afternoon Session (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EST)
  • Cost: $79 early bird; $99 after January 31

The Magical Marketing Trifecta for Writers
Most published authors have some kind of online presence, including a website and email newsletter or Facebook page, but they don’t have a clue what it means to develop a cohesive, smart approach that integrates them all. For writers who want to see their online activity pay off, then it requires some high-level and strategic thinking about who that writing is meant to reach and who you want to attract over the long term. This seminar will look at key strategies and principles for using your website, online writing (such as blogging), email, and social media in concert with each other to better reach and engage readers, both new and old.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Uncover the principles and techniques for building a career and platform in a way that plays to your strengths, with special attention paid to lead generation (that is: finding readers).
  • Learn the concepts of “content strategy” and “marketing funnel” and why these are important to determining how you will use email, social media, and your website.
  • Understand how to use social media in a way that’s supportive of your goals and not a distraction (the big secret: focus).
  • Find out why you should start building an email list today even if you think you have nothing to say.
  • Gain insight into the best practices of online writing (and/or blogging), especially headline writing, and how to get attention for what you write and post online.
  • Explore opportunities to grow your readership through collaborations, partnerships, and influencers.

For writers who would like to be smarter and more efficient about their online presence—and see that activity pay off—this seminar will push you to connect the dots between all your efforts and get your digital ships sailing in the same direction.

Can’t attend the sessions live? No problem. MWW is offering archival video access for three months to ALL registered attendees.

REGISTER TODAY!

About Jane:

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020.

Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing.

In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, NPR, PBS, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

Jane has delivered keynotes and workshops on the digital era of authorship at worldwide industry events, including the Writer’s Digest annual conference, Stockholm Writers Festival, San Miguel Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, Frankfurt Book Fair, BookExpo America, and Digital Book World. She’s also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, and has held positions as a professor of writing, media, and publishing at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia.

In her spare time, Jane writes creative nonfiction, which has been included in the anthologies Every Father’s Daughter and Drinking Diaries. If you look hard enough, you can also find her embarrassing college poetry.

 

Looking back on this year with MWW

It was so lovely to see all of your faces at our events during 2021 (even if they were in tiny Zoom squares)! We love to watch the MWW community grow.

MWW Agent Fest 2021 was a blast!

We’re still digesting all of the information from the agents! There was so much useful advice and insight to incorporate into our pitches and queries, and that sneak peek into the publishing industry was invaluable addition to our writing journey.

 

Agent Fest Attendees weigh in:

“There was a great lineup of presenters, the assistants were very helpful and organized, and everything ran very smoothly from a technical perspective!”

“Very well organized and well executed by everyone involved with the conference. Good variety of agents, from newbies to old pros.”

“Topics were very timely for me. The best thing was being able to pitch to agents. As a person new to the group I felt welcomed. Nice ambiance. Love that I can access the videos for the sessions I couldn’t attend live.”

Our summer conference sizzled!

With a knock-out faculty lineup and plenty of opportunities to network and connect with other writers, we finished that week brimming with ideas and inspiration!

Summer Conference Attendees weigh in:

“MWW is the best value I’ve found, especially for new writers. The virtual sessions are especially easy to attend no matter where you live, but if you live in a neighboring state, the drive is worth it in order to meet the presenters and attendees personally. It’s the friendliest conference I’ve attended.”

“Writing’s a lonesome endeavor, not least of all because so many of us writers tend to be a little introverted. But MWW did a fantastic job of connecting writers with one another and with faculty. The moderators and instructors at #MWW21 were friendly, helpful, encouraging, thoughtful, smart–all the things you want out of an entertaining and educational conference. I made some amazing connections and received invaluable advice from people who’ve been where I want to be.”

“The amount of knowledge and expertise was amazing. Everyone was friendly, and respectful to each other. Loved the creativity of all.”

MWW is here for you. Follow us into 2022 and beyond!

“These conferences are well-established, organized, informative, and they draw excellent publishing professional representatives. I’ll definitely attend more in the future.” –Lynette Eklund

“I started my writing career with Midwest Writers Workshop. They get right to the core of what you need to know about the publishing industry. The programs guide you all the way through getting your book, proposal and pitch ready for successfully grabbing an agents total attention. Bravo to a dedicated team who really care about writers.” –Susan H. Holland

“MWW is the highlight of my writing year!”

Thank you all for making our events so wonderful and fun. Our goal is to provide you with the writing resources and community you need so that your writing can flourish!

We’re here to cheer you on in your writing journey!