This summer marks the third year of my free seminars* for writers, a series to be held at Another Read Through bookstore in Portland, Oregon. At the end of past sessions, I’ve noted people lingered in their chairs, completing their notes or talking to one another, the smiles on their faces assuring me they’d valued the afternoon.
The first year, people were probably wary. Can anything free be useful?
Though we tend to associate money with value, that’s not always the case. A $200 registration fee for a conference may provide a seat in the back row of the hall, so far from the action that identifying the speaker’s sex can be a challenge. In contrast, seminars are small. A person feels comfortable to ask a question. And happily, there is no sales pitch, just a gathering of experts willing to donate their time.
As a writer, I feel an obligation to help other writers. If we don’t encourage one another, who will? From tales I’ve read, the entertainment industry treats scribblers like sea plankton, the lowest entity on the scale of evolution. If true, these people forget writers provide the scaffolding for the entire field — from theater and films, to television and publishing. Even rappers need a story.
With three years of experience behind me, I’ve learned I needn’t have been timid about reaching out to others for help. Many experts have come forward. In fact, a line seems to be forming. My own contribution is slight: the cost of the flyer and a little organizing time. In return, I’ve seen so much good will emerge.
We plankton of the arts have more support than we imagined, apparently. All we need to do is ask for it. Anyone interested in creating similar seminars can start with me. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.
*For details about the I hour (2-3 p.m.) Oregon seminars contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 29 – Secrets behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
July 13 –“Why fors” and “how tos”of engaging with self-publishing companies without pitfalls.
July 27 – Ask an intellectual property rights attorney your questions about contracts, copyright, etc.