Taylor University’s nationally-recognized professional writing program is hosting its annual conference July 29-30, led by assistant professor of professional writing, Linda Taylor.
This conference stresses tools and tips for advancing an individual’s writing and getting published.
“The focus of (the conference) is to write in a lot of genres, but we also do talk about getting published and the publishing industry,” Taylor said.
Several professional writers, agents and editors are on the conference line-up to assist with networking and taking each attendee’s writing to the next level.
The PWR conference, hosted on Taylor’s campus, brings in editors, agents, acquisitions editors, social media experts and other industry professionals who speak at general sessions, breakout sessions and one-on-one.
Guest faculty chosen to speak and hold workshops at the conference include Bob Hostetler, Denise Hunter, Brenda L. Yoder, James Watkins, Carol Fielding, Linda Glaz, PeggySue Wells, Lydia Sherrer, David Sherrer, Edwina Perkins, Julie Campbell and Leilani Squires.
Among the speakers are visiting assistant professor of film and media production, Lincoln Reed, and instructor of communication, Timothy Berkey, as well as Taylor professional writing alumni Hope Bolinger (‘19), Alyssa Roat (‘19), Megan Alms (‘19), Alex Mellen (‘14) and Aubree DeVisser (‘19).
The conference offers several topics in three different tracks: breaking in, staying current and specialty markets.
Perfecting a book’s pitch, beginning podcasting, self-editing, freelancing, writing characters with disabilities, writing the cozy mystery, writing and mental health and basics of scriptwriting are among the topics offered.
When the faculty are not teaching, they are available for 15-minute one-on-one conferences with attendees.
Around 100 people sign up every year and are able to attend whatever track they want.
“Our niche for this conference is that we are one of the few in the Midwest, we are inexpensive, and (the conference) is short,” Taylor said. “It only lasts two days, but we pack a lot of information in a short amount of time.”
The 2022 conference will be the department’s sixth conference. In 2020, they offered an online version, and in 2021 they canceled due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
The professional writing major had been attending writer’s conferences before deciding to start their own around six years ago, getting jump started through the connections they had in the industry.
“We wanted to hold something that would bring people in from all over the place, and it does bring people in from around the country,” Taylor said.
In addition to the regular conference, two additional tracks are being offered on July 28: the advanced track and the teen track.
The advanced track is created for advanced writers and will be instructed by best-selling author and publishing professional Lydia Sherrer and her husband, David Sherrer, a marketing professional. They will discuss topics such as taking your writing from part-time to pro, author branding for long-term success, the business of independent publishing and online marketing for authors.
The teen track invites teenagers who have had a passion for writing for the first time in the conference’s history. Those who attend this track will learn from veteran professionals in a series of topics such as getting started on your writing dream, the publishing process from top to bottom, what it takes to get published and much more.
“It’s really fun to see people making connections, enjoying each other, laughing, sitting together and talking about their writing,” Taylor said. “I just think it is really fun to know that we have facilitated something like this for people; the chance to facilitate this is really exciting.”
Registration is currently open for the conference. More information can be found at www.taylorprofessionalwritersconference.weebly.com.