Jamie Cat Callan

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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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Our presenters sitting next to the product of their hard work

Announcing the next speaker.

I introduced each of the speakers.

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

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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.

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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.

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.

Only 35 tickets left!

writers conferenceMy free writers’ conference is booking up quickly – make sure you register to save a seat. Click here to register! Here’s a review of the amazing and talented speakers and their presentation topics:

How I Got a Job in Publishing” by Tricia Remark, contributor for Pyragraph, creator of the blog, Tricia’s Remarks, and Promotions Associate at Workman Publishing.

How I became a Writing Mentor” by Whitney Jacoby, publishing sales and marketing specialist. She is finishing up her third year as a mentor at Girls Write Now, an organization that pairs high school girls who want to be writers with women mentors.

How I Got a Literary Agent” by Melissa Baumgart, writer and tutor for Admit1MBA andAdmit2College. She is currently working on a Young Adult novel.

“How I Turned My Mortifications into a Memoir” by Jen Doll, author of Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest. Jen has also written for The Atlantic, Mental Floss, New York Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and other publications. 

How I became a Freelance Writer” by AnneLise Sorensen, contributor for New York Magazine, MSNBC, Galavante, NewYork.com, DK Top Ten Barcelona, and Gourmet Magazine. 

How I Got Over Getting Published” by Christina Bryza, author of Are You My Boyfriend?, and founder of Golden Glance Editing. Visit her at ChristinaBryza.com or follow @christinaBEaneon Twitter.

How I Get Paid to Travel” by Jamie Cat Callan, author of Ooh La La! , Bonjour, Happiness! and the wildly popular French Women Don’t Sleep Alone. Jamie’s work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Allure Magazine, Glamour, Woman’s World, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times Sunday Styles Modern Love column.

Ooh La La! An Interview with Jamie Cat Callan

I’m so excited to read Jamie Cat Callan’s new book, Ooh La La!: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day. I loved the lighthearted advice of her book, Bonjour, Happiness!, and the interesting cultural comparisons of  French Women Don’t Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love. I also recommend The Writer’s Toolbox to any writer, or person who aspires to be more creative.

Jamie took some time out of her busy book tour to answer a few questions for us! Jouir de:

When did your love and admiration of all things French begin?

I grew up spending my summers with my French-American grandmother.  She lived simply, without a lot of material goods, but she knew how to enjoy life.  She was elegant, beautiful, and possessed a whole lot of joie de vivre.

What is the biggest difference you notice between American and French women?

The second wave feminist movement played out much differently in France than in America. As a result, Americans inherited a kind of divisiveness between men and women.  We interpreted equality as sameness.  France believes in the power of the difference between men and women. 

Also, France’s economy is dependent on the culture of women—beauty, fashion, and perfume supports so many people in France.  It can’t be taken lightly.  Women’s interest in fashion and beauty is serious business, because it supports hundreds of thousands of people.  In America, our industry is about finances, Wall Street and heavy industry.  So you see, we’re not as financially connected to beauty—but I wish we were!  

Jamie, in the middle, interviewing some French women.

In this day in age, when people are worried about the economy and international affairs, why should women concern themselves with their beauty and affect?

Okay, this may sound naive, but I believe that attention to beauty and elegance can actually save our economy and prevent wars.  First, if we understand where true beauty comes from—our hearts—there’s no need to spend a lot of money.  I can attest to this because my French grandmother lived through the Great Depression, sewing her own clothes, gardening and cutting back on luxuries.  She lived well with very little.  This is the French way. 

In terms of the threat of war—well, there will always be the threat of war.  That said, what is the point of protecting our countries, our lives, our way of living if not so that we can appreciate the tenderness of simple everyday pleasures, and yes beauty. 

I believe that beauty can actually prevent wars.  If we recognize the importance of beauty in our lives, then we will not want to destroy other beautiful things.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Always.  I wrote stories, poems and songs for my family when I was a little girl.  I loved to hear stories.  So, I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer!

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Write.  Write.  And write some more.  Write on a regular basis and try to create a space that is special to you and your writing practice.  I believe the muse likes to visit you when you show up regularly and honor the space with your words, your thoughts, and  your dreams.  And then aside from writing, I suggest, daydreaming.  Your inner life and your powers of observations are important tools of the trade.

Finally, believe in yourself.  Keep the faith.  No matter what you’re doing—from washing dishes to working at Kinko’s, don’t forget you’re a writer and all this is your material, your paint box, your brushes and your canvas.

Describe your perfect day in France.

Ah, is there such a thing as a less-than-perfect day in France?  Okay, well, if we’re talking about just one perfect day–I would spend much of it  sitting in a cafĂ© in Paris, watching the world go by.  I would walk through the Tuileries, all the way from Concord to the Louvre.  I would walk along the Seine and cross the Pont des Arts, to see all the bicycle locks that the lovers have left.  Perhaps I’d even have a little picnic on the bridge.  Oh, but I’d want to walk along the Seine and up to Notre Dame.  And then I’d walk around the Left Bank and visit the places  Hemingway and Fitzgerald frequented—CafĂ© Deux Magots and Harry’s Bar on the Right Bank. 

 

Speaking of the Right Bank, I would stop by Chanel and pay homage to the Grand Dame of modern fashion.  From there, I would walk a few blocks to Ladurée and perhaps indulge in a macaron or two.  Later, I would go to the market in Belleville and buy some fresh flowers and do a bit of people-watching.  Finally, I would have dinner at Café de l’Homme, where I’d get a table on the terrace, so I could watch the Eiffel Tower lit up against the Paris sky and I would drink champagne! 

Sounds like a perfect day to me. Merci beaucoup! I can’t wait to read your new book, and start infusing my life with more beauty and joie de vivre.