Announcing a Reading with Susie Finkbeiner

Attendees of the Jot Conference will recognize Susie Finkbeiner. She’s worked the registration table and faithfully attended the conference for years. But in addition to being a wonderful helper and friend of Jot, Susie is a published author.

Her most recent book, A Cup of Dust, is a novel set in the midst of the dust bowl.

Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.

Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.

Susie will be reading a chapter from A Cup of Dust at the Jot Conference on Friday, September 9th at Baker Book House, 2768 East Paris Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Please join us!

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The Jot Writers’ Conference Returns! 9.9.16

Friday, September 9th, 2016

FREE Admission – Event begins at 7pm

Open to all writers. Rookies. Veterans. And everyone in between.
Open to writers of any genre.

The Jot Writers’ Conference is a biannual, one-night event for writers held each spring and fall in West Michigan. It features short, TED-style talks on various aspects of writing and publishing. Admission is free. Come for the inspiring speakers. Stay for the coffee and the chance to meet other writers.

Or just find a nook in the bookstore and write all evening. Don’t worry. We totally get it. 🙂

LOCATION

Baker Book House
2768 East Paris Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

GUEST SPEAKERS

Aric DavisARIC DAVIS is the author of seven books: From Ashes Rise: A Novel of Michigan, Nickel Plated, A Good and Useful Hurt, The Black Death: A Dead Man Novella, Rough Men, Breaking Point, The Fort and Tunnel Vision. He is married with one daughter and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he worked for sixteen years as a body piercer; he now writes full time. A punk rock aficionado, Davis does anything he can to increase awareness of a good band. He likes weather cold enough to need a sweatshirt but not a coat, and friends who wear their hearts on their sleeves. In addition to reading and writing, he also enjoys roller coasters, hockey, and a good cigar.

 

 
Sarah Grimm

S. D. GRIMM’S first love in writing is young adult speculative fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and her debut novel, Scarlet Moon, is slated to be published in October 2016. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), making clay dragons for her Grimmlies store on Etsy, practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and doing anything outdoorsy with the family. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.

 

 

 

Tom Springer 2015 300dpiTOM SPRINGER is an essayist, journalist, and environmentalist. He has written about nature and outdoor travel for newspapers and magazines such as Backpacker, Michigan Out-of-Doors, and Notre Dame, and his nature-themed commentaries have aired on several National Public Radio programs. His collection of essays, Looking For Hickories: The Forgotten Wildness of the Rural Midwest (University of Michigan Press), was named a Michigan Notable Book in 2009. Springer holds a master’s degree in environmental journalism from Michigan State University. He lives near Three Rivers, Michigan.

Parking Your Buns at Jot 4

If you’ve never been to Baker Book House, you are missing out. Fortunately, you can easily rectify that mistake by attending the next Jot Writers’ Conference which is being held at Baker Book House on Friday, September 12th (but you probably already knew that).

There are a lot of great reasons why we hold Jot at a bookstore. Here are just a few:

  • Bookstores are natural second homes to writers (and for those of you who would say that coffee shops are even more natural second homes for writers, Baker Book House is home to Icons Coffee, an indie coffee shop with the best Chai Latte in the world).
  • The space is free for us to use because Baker Book House is wonderfully supportive of West Michigan’s vibrant writing community (plus, one of the members of the writing group that runs Jot works there).
  • And finally, there are a lot of great places to tuck yourself away and work on your book.

It is this last part that makes Baker especially well-suited for hosting Jot, because Jot is one of the only writers’ conferences in existence that plans writing time right into the conference itself.

Let’s take a look at some of the nooks around the bookstore into which you may nestle to work on your book at Jot.

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How to Get the Most Out of Jot

jotI’ve read it in writing magazines and on blogs and websites of famous writers that going to writer’s conference is one of the best things you can do if you are serious about being a writer. Writing conferences are part education, part encouragement, and part filler of that elusive creative well.

If you’ve been to Jot, I hope you’ve experienced these things.

Writing can be a lonely process. This is not just true for us amateurs but for professionals too. In the book CS Lewis: Eccentric Genius. Reluctant Prophet., Alister McGrath points out that Tolkien (older and well respected in higher education circles of his day) timidly showed CS Lewis one of his poems he had been working on. Lewis approved of it so enthusiastically, he showed him more. In part, because of that encouragement we now have The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Being around other writers is essential to our success.

So, how do you get the most out of a writer’s conference that lasts for only one night? Pull a bit of your hidden world out of your pocket, be bold and share. Ask the presenters questions. Take notes and attend Matthew Landrum’s Poetry workshop (limited spaces available) even if you are not a poet.  Get to know the person next to you, and share a little bit about your work. You may find a kindred spirit, and even if they are a poet and you are writing a memoir, you will find a friend and also affirm aloud what you are: A WRITER.

Every time I leave a writers conference I am buzzing with so much energy I cannot sleep. If that is you, use that energy to write when you get home.

Don’t miss out on this great event. Come ready to learn. Come ready to meet other writers, and come with you notebook or laptop and commit to getting some words down on the page.

The Weaklings thank you in advance for coming out for this free event.

If you have questions about the event, please post them below. We’ll try our best to get them answered before tonight. Or, write them down and bring them with you.

If you cannot attend, I’ll be live tweeting the event. You can follow me @parttimenovel. We may also have a live stream up and if so, I’ll tweet or post the link here on the blog.

See you tonight!

Writer, Have You Lost Your Motivation? Chad Allen Is Here To Help!

Jot the GR Writers Mini-Conference is THIS Friday. Have you called that writer friend you know to invite them? You’ve got a sitter for the kids, right? You’ve remembered to request the night off of work? Good. Well done. It is going to be amazing.

Since we’re talking about amazing, Chad Allen, Editorial Director at Baker Books, is speaking at Jot. He’s here to encourage us as we chase our writing dreams.

Chad’s topic in a nutshell:

You Can Do This: An Editor’s Manifesto: How to Stay Motivated and Keep Moving toward Publication

The road to getting published can be tough. How can you improve your writing, build your platform, hold down a day job, and still have a life? What practices can writers use to find their voice and produce their best work? In this presentation editor Chad R. Allen shares strategies to help writers be successful over the long run.

I’ve asked Chad a little bit about himself and what advice he might have for the budding author.

Enjoy!

1. Chad, I’ve read your book and follow your website. Explain why you decided to take up blogging and speaking. Where does that passion come from and how do you keep that energy every day?

I started the blog because I feel a deep calling to this work of helping creatives do their best work. This call is both the source and the sustenance for the whole shebang. Of course I’m as much the audience for the blog as I am the blogger! In so many ways I’m just a fellow beggar looking for bread. The blog at its best is a place where creatives can walk with and learn from each other.

2. I assume most of the attendees at Jot are serious about writing. It is more than a hobby and there is a desire to turn it into a career. What actions should the pre-published author be doing right now that would help them get noticed by an agent or publishing house?

Three things: Build your platform. Get better and better at writing. And stay on the lookout for a great book concept. The good news is that you can do all three at the same time by blogging.

3. Every writer has their unique style. It can be difficult to find your own voice. What are some practical ways a young writer can begin to draw that out?

Such a good question. I tend to think finding one’s voice starts with finding one’s muses—models out there whom we want to emulate in some way. Austin Kleon has this great two-column list that spells out the difference between good creative theft and bad creative theft. It’s worth Googling. One of his ideas is that good theft is stealing from many whereas bad theft is stealing from one. The more we expose ourselves to and learn from work we love, the more we’ll be able to riff off it and do our own thing.

4. Editing and refining can be an arduous task. After finishing a draft, what steps do you suggest a writer should take to produce a more polished second draft?

Show your first draft to lots of people and ask for input. Pay them if you have to. That’s what I did with Do Your Art. Honestly some of the feedback wasn’t that helpful, but some of it was absolutely priceless. Some of that priceless input came from a friend who gave it to me freely. Other pieces of it came from a freelance editor I hired.

5. Writers can burn out easily. Either their support group dwindles or life gets in the way. What are some tips to help the pre-published writer to stay motivated and refill their creative well?

Come to the JOT conference! This is a subject about which I’m passionate because I hear from discouraged writers regularly. The creative road is a tough one, but we can navigate it with the right practices in place. We need to be in touch with the why behind what we’re doing. We need to fall in love with the process of our art (the one thing we can control). We must have the support of other people. And we need to get serious about our calendars. I’ll be talking more about these areas in my presentation. I really hope it’s helpful to people, and I’m grateful to you and Josh for inviting me.

If you’d like to know more about Chad visit his blog (www.ChadRAllen.com). You can also connect with him on Facebook ChadRAllen or follow him on Twitter @ChadRAllen

Thank you Chad and see you all Friday!

The Jot Conference returns on Friday, September 13th, 2013!

megaphoneYou read it correctly. We’ll be having another JOT: GR Writers Mini-Conference on Friday, September 13th, 2013. We’re working on the outline for the evening now and will be posting updates here as we get things finalized. Here’s what is set in stone:

When: Friday, September 13th, 2013 at 7pm

Where: Baker Book House

What: We’ll be focusing on the same three key goals we focused on for the first JOT conference – Meet. Learn. Write.

Our first goal is to provide writers with an time to meet each other and strengthen the Grand Rapids literary scene through a fun community event.
Our second goal is to provide excellent content for writers to learn something about the craft or the industry.
Our third goal is provide busy writers with space and time to actually write and not just talk about it. We’re all busy, but by attending JOT you are insured some quality writing time in a beautiful local book store.

Cost: Totally FREE.

Who: For sure The Weaklings will be there (Josh, Matt, Bob, and Andy) along with some friends in the publishing industry and writing community. More to come!

We’ve got a lot planned for JOT this September. Watch this space, and our Facebook page, for updates. We’ll be posting them as we’ve got them. Hope to see you there!

Keep writing!

-Andy Rogers

Why You Should Attend Jot

Writers are unique individuals. Not because they tend to be odd or nerdy or both, but because they spend their time doing something that most would consider torture – that is – writing something. Writing is hard work. It’s a task that requires an enormous amount of effort. It calls for perseverance. It needs constant encouragement.

This is where Jot comes in.

Jot is for new and aspiring authors. It’s for established authors, writers mired in the drafting or writer’s block stage, and for those interested getting their feet wet, having yet to put words on the page.

Why should you attend Jot?

Because it’s a date with your inner writer. It’s a time to reflect on your writing life, to learn tips, rub shoulders with other authors and, possibly, make a writing friend or two in the area.

Who should attend Jot?

Anyone interested in writing. Whether you are standoffish about it or plunging into your work, it is a free experience to get some encouragement to dip your toe in the water or to keep swimming when there is no sight of land.

Thanks for reading the post, we look forward to meeting each of you.