writing

Please Give Me Your Hard-Earned Money

In an effort to offer a conference which is affordable, yet small enough so there is a strong sense of community, I have run into a small conundrum. Even if I sell all of my tickets, I am just going to break even. I was hoping to get more corporate sponsors but I keep running into the same problem: I don’t have non-profit status. I would love to continue creating this incredible conference series, but I need extra money to make it sustainable (I want to file for non-profit status, I want to continue bringing in amazing speakers and paying them a fair price for their talent, and I would like to make a little salary for all the time I put into this). Here’s where I’m hoping my amazing readers will come in and save the day!

I know this is a brazen request, but I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t believe these conferences will make the world a better place by nurturing creative people and helping to bring their art into the world. You can help support creativity by making a donation toward the Writers Work conference through PayPal. Again, this isn’t a non-profit yet, so donations are not tax deductible.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Where it asks for special instructions, type your name and/or website you would like me to advertise. For donations of $25 and up, I will be posting your link on this blog, my twitter handles for The Heso Project and Writers Work, The Heso facebook page, as well as on the programs for the conference. If you would like to make a large donation that covers a specific cost, here are just a few of the items from my budget (Donors will be acknowledged for this contribution on all promotional materials.):

Lunch – Feeding Creativity
$600 
Breakfast – The Spark of Inspiration
$150 
The Venue – A Room of One’s Own
$750 
Photography – Capturing the Details
$400
Logo Design – Leave a Mark
$100

And, of course, please keep telling all your writing friends about the conference! Thank you for your support 🙂

Interview with Sojourner

Check out my interview on Sojourner’s Sojourns, a wonderful blog that covers diverse topics from international travel with an infant to organic lotion recipes.

Writers Work! A Brand New Writer’s Conference is Coming to New York.

Meet My Favorite Author

Kyle_bookIt was a long shot, but I wrote to my new favorite author, Aryn Kyle, to gush and invite her to speak at my conference and she said YES!

A few months ago, I flipped out over her book, The God of Animals. Now I’m reading her short story collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me. I normally have a hard time getting into short stories, but her writing style is so sensitive and evocative that I’m immediately immersed in each story of tainted adolescence. Her protagonists are mysterious, complicated, and observant. Her beautiful prose is filled with heartbreaking honesty, like this gem from The God of Animals:

“If you take something that isn’t yours, it will never belong to you. You can try to hold on to it, but somehow, it will slip through your fingers. If something wasn’t meant to be yours, it won’t be. No matter what you do to keep it, you will lose it.”

I’m so honored to have her as a speaker at my next conference on Saturday, September 20! She will be sharing her experience of turning an award-winning short story into a novel, as well as some tips on how to get into a writers’ residency (hint hint you don’t need to be a published author). When I started this series, I wanted to find speakers who would motivate other writers and share what they have learned. Aryn is one of my dream speakers. Don’t miss this chance to meet a wonderful, contemporary author and make sure you get a copy of her books so you can get it signed!

10 Reasons why every writer should come to this conference

When I first accepted the crazy notion that I was going to be a writer, I kept getting this advice: go to writers’ conferences and start networking. The idea made sense, but the price tag didn’t. I couldn’t afford tickets upwards of $500 on the off chance I meet someone who likes my pitch, and would remember me from the crowd of hundreds of other eager attendees.

If what you want isn’t out there, make it! It’s taken a lot of hard work, but I am proud to host a conference that is affordable (under $100 including lunch), and intimate. If you know a writer in the New York area, make sure they get a ticket before it sells out.

When and where is it, you ask?

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 from 10am-4pm in Times Sq. 

Here are just some of the reasons why you should go:

  1. Pitch your story idea to Shira Hoffman, literary agent at McIntosh & Otis.
  2. Hear from my favorite contemporary author, Aryn Kyle, about writers’ residency programs and the process of turning a short story into a novel. P.S. if you haven’t read her work, pick up a copy of The God of Animals today!
  3. Meet other people with same interests and goals so you can start having creative dates together!
  4. Meet Deborah Emin, publisher of Sullivan Street Press, a company that is working to give the power and control back to writers.
  5. Get a behind the scenes look at the publishing world from Christina Bryza, a Senior Copywriter at Simon & Schuster.
  6. Get a free hour of guided writing, care of  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, in addition to a special discount for their classes.
  7. Take your craft seriously. When you spend money on your dreams, they start to become a reality.
  8. Build your support network.
  9. Free lunch!
  10. Get out of the house, get out of the rut, get out of your head, and come and have creative fun with others!

You can buy tickets here, or check out the official website.

A fun moment at the last conference.

A fun moment at the last conference.

Exciting News!

Do you ever have one of those months where everything finally comes together? I hope you do, because it feels fantastic. After a lot of hard work, I have some great news to share:

  1. I have a new website for my Writers Work conference series, and I’ve added a writer’s retreat feature! I used the logo you guys chose. Check it out and let me know what you think.
  2. I sent out my first query letter for my novel!
  3. I submitted a short story to The New Yorker and The Missouri Review.
  4. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…discounted tickets are now available for the next Writers Work Conference 9/20/14 in Times Sq. NY! Have lunch with an agent, hear about authors’ experiences of getting published, meet approachable editors and publishers who want to share the inside scoop with you, and connect with other writers. It’s going to be an amazing day
2014-03-23 15.58.18

Ahhh the joy of getting sh*t done!

Pictures from the first-ever Writers Work Conference

I couldn’t wait to share these pictures with you. All of them were taken by the talented Amy Stockhaus. If you would like to get involved with the next conference, which I’m planning for this fall, please visit this page.

HESO1

The exciting moments before the audience arrives.

All of the presenters Jamie Cat Callan, Christina Bryza, Gayle Squires, Annelise Sorensen, Tricia Remark, Jen Doll, Melissa Baumgart, Tracy Sayre, and Whitney Jacoby.

HESO16

The first arrivals.

Go social media!

Go social media!

Tricia Remark, writer and promotions associate for Worman.

Our first presenter, the effervescent Tricia Remark, writer and promotions manager for Workman.

Some of our presenters: AnneLise Sorensen, Gayle Squires, Tricia Remark, Jamie Cat Callan, and Melissa Baumgart.

Captive listeners.

Our presenters were just as engaged as the audience 🙂

HESO32

Our presenters sitting next to the product of their hard work

Announcing the next speaker.

I introduced each of the speakers.

HESO72

20 minutes of Q&A between the audience and the presenters.

HESO83

After the presentations there was an hour for networking. This was one of the most important parts of the event for me because I really wanted to grow a creative community and encourage an exchange of ideas.

During the networking hour.

Networking hour.

HESO90

The presenters were all extremely approachable and loved sharing ideas and encouragement with the audience members.

Networking hour.

Freelance writers sharing some tips.

I hope you can join me for the next conference! Please use the contact form on this page if you have an ideas for improvement, speakers, sponsors, or venues.

How to Talk to Your Future Self

???????A few months ago I was feeling anxious about money and not sure if I should continue focusing on my writing career. I opened a random page of a notebook by my bed and wrote: “Tracy’s Patterns: As soon as you get somewhere with your writing you start panicking about money, and distract yourself with odd jobs and job searches.” I felt better as soon as I wrote this, and closed the notebook to return to my writing.  And forgot about it.

I am weeks, maybe days, from finishing the second draft of my novel. Just as I was on an incredible wave of momentum, I crashed into wall of anxiety. I’m going to go broke writing this stupid thing that no one will ever read. I’m almost 30, I should have a real job. It went on and on, but I won’t bore you with the details because if you are pursuing something creative, you’ve probably had all the same thoughts. I decided to end all this anxiety once and for all and start the never-ending job search again.

The next day I was cleaning up my apartment and I found a notebook that I rarely use. I opened to a random page and there it was in writing : “As soon as you get somewhere with your writing you start panicking about money, and distract yourself with odd jobs and job searches.” I nearly dropped the book on the floor. I had completely forgotten I wrote those words. It felt like I had paid a genius psychiatrist  to study me and write down her findings in my notebook. Actually the most comforting thought was: this is me from the future saying don’t worry it’s all going to be okay as long as you listen to your heart and not your fears.

As soon as I realized I was continuing a pattern to hold myself back, it was so easy to let go of the anxiety. Yes, I don’t have enough savings to last me forever, but that should be motivation to finish my book sooner, not get another job. Since finding that journal, I’ve been writing like crazy and any time I think of looking at my bank account, or looking at a job listing, I repeat my findings to myself, and keep writing.

What is your pattern? Leave it in the comment section below or write it down in a journal. The next time you start to doubt yourself, revisit your comment and see if your anxiety is based on truth or based on a belief that is holding you back. This was so helpful for me, and I hope it can help you as well.

Be Audacious

Jamie Cat Callan, author of Ooh La La!:: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day, presented at my conference yesterday and one of her pieces of advice summarized the entire event for me:

“Be audacious. Even if it seems crazy, ask for what you want!”

All I knew was that I wanted to host a conference to promote talented writers and motivate aspiring writers. I didn’t know where it should be, who should speak, and what message I was trying to share. I started with a simple question “will you join me?” and one by one I amassed a panel of eight amazing speakers.

me at conference

Yesterday I was blown away by the level of insight the speakers had. Each presentation was unique and the speakers shared their personality as well as their knowledge. Looking out at the audience, I was touched to see over 40 strangers eagerly taking notes the entire time. During the social hour, so many audience members came up to me and said they couldn’t wait to go home and write (exactly what I wanted to hear).

The audience members taking their seats.

The audience members taking their seats.

I can’t tell you how many times I told people I was hosting a writers’ conference and they gave me a look like I was crazy. After all, who am I? I don’t have the backing of a credible publishing house, I don’t have thousands of dollars from sponsors, I don’t have 100,000 followers on Twitter. Who am I? I’m audacious 🙂 and it worked!

If you have a dream, start doing whatever it takes to make it happen. It might not look like how you envisioned it, but remember you are just taking the first step and that’s what will make the next step possible. Waiting around for someone to give you permission to do something is a waste of time, and it probably won’t ever happen.

Now I know that I can do this, I’m looking to expand. I would like to host the next conference in 6 months. Here’s how you can help me:

  • If you know of potential sponsors who would like to be associated with a conference that’s inspiring and motivating, one that promotes working hard for what you want, please put me in touch with them!
  • If you know engaging, approachable and inspiring speakers who are in some way connected to the writing world (publishers, agents, writers, freelancers, or something totally crazy that I can’t come up with), please put me in touch with them!
  • Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. The more followers I have, the more credible I look and the more great content you get to keep up with ;). The hashtag for this event is #writerswork

Lots more pictures will be coming! I can’t thank Jamie Cat Callan, AnneLise Sorensen, Jen Doll, Whitney Jacoby, Gayle Squires, Melissa Baumgart, Tricia Remark, and Christina Bryza enough! Also a special thanks to Capital One 360 for the venue, and Amy Stockhaus for the photography.