Thoughts on the Sixth Jot Writers Conference

The sixth Jot Writers Conference has come and gone. It turned out to be another great event. Just over 30 writers filled the presentation space at Lowry’s Books and More. I met loads of new writers and enjoyed hearing about their different projects.

This was our first event at Lowry’s, which turned out to be a solid venue for writing-related events. It’s a sprawling used book store, (You could spend hours there. Trust me.) and the event space is part of their in-store cafe, which smelled of cupcakes. Used books and cupcakes. What’s not to love?

To make an already  fun night even better, the owner, Tom, sprung for free pizza and soda — for the whole conference. One of the goals of every Jot Conference is to get writers to meet each other. Most writers are typically shy and introverted, so it’s not always easy to make sure everyone has met someone new. But nothing gets people to loosen up and mingle a little bit like free pizza. (Okay, perhaps free drinks would do the same, but you get my point.)

My favorite part of the evening was an interview I conducted with Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma, one-time editor of Catapult Magazine, and editor of the new journal, Topology Magazine. Kirstin is one of the first editors who published something I had written (see the links to Catapult in the writing tab above). I’m grateful that she, her husband Rob, and the rest of the Catapult crew took a shot with me back then (circa ’08 and ’09). Every publication is an honor, but there’s something about the first couple that are especially meaningful. It was a thrill for me to interview her at a Jot Conference and express my gratitude.

One of these days we’re going to ask someone with an eye for photography to come to a Jot Conference and snap some photos. Until then we have my iPhone pics. The first is of Josh Mosey, who talked about character development through the lens of Norse mythology.

JOT VI_Mosey

Bob Evenhouse gave a talk on the basics of blogging. There were a good number of writers in attendance with questions about blogging, so I was glad we had this topic covered.

JOT VI_Evenhouse

Thomas McClurg spoke on self-editing, and more specifically, being willing to make cuts to your writing which empower readers’ imaginations to run wild. As is typical for Thomas, his presentation was thoughtful with a touch of understated humor. (I was in the back during his presentation, so, this image is the poorest of the three. We really, really, really need to get a real photographer to a Jot Conference some day…)

JOT VI_McClurg

(I didn’t get any pics of Matt Landrum presenting or of the interview with Kirstin, unfortunately.)

The next Jot will be held in Grand Rapids. We’re planning on holding it in March, though the where, the when, and the who are not set in stone yet. I’ll blog about it as things are finalized in the next few months. Hope to see you there!

*****

Posts about previous Jot Conferences:

Reflections of the Fourth Jot Conference

Jot Writers Conference: The iPhone Pics Report (first conference)

Some Thoughts on Jot: the GR Writers Mini-Conference (first conference)

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