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WordySouth old

3 exciting reasons not to feel lonely in 2014

I’ll be honest. I miss you all.

Just a couple months ago, we had our fifth–and I think, best–Crossroads Writers Conference and it was chock full of awesome, but now I’m lonely again. It happens every year. I just never get used to it.

This time, I decided to do something about it. That’s why I’m happy to tell you about three things we’re doing between now and the next conference that gives me a great excuse to talk/text/email/pester you.  (Yes, you!)

#1) the Wordy South podcast

Do you like things that are free? I do too! That’s the deal with podcasts. Download ‘em for free then go workout, take a walk, stream it in your car on long rides. You may think they’re soooo 2005 but I love ‘em.

That’s why we’re launching our own on Thursday, December 19, 2013. Every week, there’ll be a new installment featuring some of our favorite guests from past conferences, members of the Crossroads family and writers new to the whole Wordy South thing.

You’ll find each episode online, via iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and whatever else we can get set up.

Our first guests include Bernice McFadden, Adam Mansbach, Carrie Howland, Delilah S. Dawson and Cat Scully. We’ve got a couple of surprise guests and dozens of cool folks from the five previous conferences so this is going to be fun.

 

#2) Webinars, tweet-ups and Hangouts, oh my!

Early in 2014, we’re re-launching this website.

The idea is to keep regular blogs with tips, advice, insight, prompts and whatever else we can think of to help keep you motivated.

But we’re also working on ways to keep us connected to each other in the year that passes between one conference and the next. That’s why we’ll start having regular meet-ups on Twitter (er, tweet-ups) and Google Hangouts.

And we’re working on plans to introduce webinars so you can workshop with your favorite Crossroads writers.

 

#3) the 1st ever Crossroads Writers Retreat

What the what?

Oh yeah. Think: a cross between the conference and that ray gun from “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” A mini-Crossroads that may or may not be in Macon.

Honey...

And there may or may not be more than one. Perhaps that’s something we can talk about in our tweet-ups and Hangouts, eh?

See, the big idea is that we want Crossroads to be directed and designed by you even more than it already is. Surveys aren’t enough anymore. We want you active and engaged in making sure we can help you write more and write better.

(That goes double for the next conference.)

So stay tuned. Make sure you’re on the email list, that you’ve added us on Facebook and are following us on Twitter. Share your ideas below or shoot me an email at chris (at) crossroadswriters (dot) com

Later!

Chris H.

Location, location, location!

This is Macon in the early 1900's... it has changed (some) since then. Now, everything is in beautiful Technicolor!

This is Macon in the early 1900′s… it has changed (some) since then. Now, everything is in beautiful Technicolor!

Where is the Crossroads Writers Conference?

This year, the conference returns to the Macon, Georgia campus of Mercer University. A lot has changed around the college since we were last there. Namely, the growth of Mercer Village, which features a great little coffee shop Jittery Joe’s, a Barnes and Noble, and some great places to grab a bite: Ingleside Village Pizza, Francar’s Wings, Margarita’s Mexican Grill and Fountain of Juice. Don’t forget the large and lovely Tattnall Square Park next door, so if you need a few minute to wander around and collect your thoughts, you can find solitude there. To find your way to Mercer University, just click here, hit “get directions” and type in your address.

Is there an official hotel for us to stay in this year?

Yep! The brand spankin’ new Holiday Inn North is the official hotel of the Wordy South. They have writer-friendly rates (get a great discount off their regular prices when you ask for the Crossroads Writers room deal), a great bar for after-hours hanging out and we’ll run a shuttle from the hotel to the conference to make sure you get where the other word nerds are.

Wait… where is Macon, Georgia?

Right smack dab in the middle of the state, about an hour and a half south of Atlanta and about three hours west of Savannah, conveniently situated on I-75 and I-16.

Macon native John Oliver Killens was a co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild and the author of several novels, like "Youngblood" and "And Then We Heard the Thunder." Photo: Carl Van Vechten

Macon native John Oliver Killens wrote several novels, like “Youngblood” and “And Then We Heard the Thunder.” (Photo: Carl Van Vechten)

The cool part is that Macon has long been a little creative haven that has been home to a variety of writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists who have make a global impact with their work. We’re talking about John Oliver Killens, the Macon-born co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild in whose honor the conference is named, and poet/musician/lawyer/soldier Sidney Lanier and novelist Tina McElroy Ansa, Joel Chandler Harris (aka – Uncle Remus) and former CNN president Tom Johnson  and Pulitzer Prize winner George Weller who settled in here after becoming the first journalist into Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped.

We’re talking about Flannery O’Connor who would make the short drive over from Milledgeville, and about Alice Walker, who grew up in Eatonton and still has kin here. And, of course, we’re talking about Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Allman Brothers, James Brown, Lena Horne, Lucinda Williams and her poet daddy Miller Williams. We’re even talking about Mike Mills and Bill Berry of REM, Jason Aldean, Young Jeezy and Meiko. We’re talking about visits to the old cotton mills by Sherwood Anderson and the summer Tennessee Williams spent here, which inspired Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

We could go on, but you get the drift, right? It’s a cool little place to come recharge your creative batteries.

Here are some links to help you learn more about Macon:

Macon Arts – Ovations365 

Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau

College Hill Alliance

Historic Macon

Gateway Macon

NewTown Macon

City of Macon

Bibb County

Main Street Macon

person typing pipe

Three reasons to enter a writing contest

Take the next big step in your writing journey by joining the community at Crossroads 2013. Learn more here: CrossroadsWriters.splashthat.com

You’ve been dedicated. You’ve scribbled, drafted, edited, revised and polished. You’ve even given your work over to trusted friends for feedback. Now, you want to see your writing stand up on its own two and walk. Maybe run.

So, have you checked out writing contests?

Here are three good reasons to consider entering one:

  1. A deadline – Even the pros with scores of books under their belts suffer from either procrastinating to write or never finishing their revisions. Having a hard and fast deadline can be a good cure for either problem.
  2. Gut check – Most contests cost something up front — usually between $15-$35 — but that should serve as a mini-moment of truth. Is your writing ready for public consumption? And is this contest the right one for your work?
  3. Payoff – Yes, winning a contest has its benefits — publication, a little cash and an ego boost — but even if you don’t land the prize, you should be proud because you wrote; you polished; you gave it a shot. The only failures are when you aren’t trying.

If you’re looking for a writing contest to enter — be it for short stories, poetry, non-fiction and essays, etc — check these websites for some of the best:

  • GlimmerTrain.com - The good folks at Glimmer Train are among the biggest supporters of new, emerging writers. They only publish the unpublished and have  a nice variety of contest options. Good place to start.
  • Poets & Writers – This huge database includes grants and fellowships too, so if you’re on *that* level with your writing, it can be a big help. It’s fairly easy to search and sort.
  • NewPages.com – Clean and dead simple to figure out. This list is sortable by deadline with enough details to get you started and a link for more information.
  • TerribleMinds.com – Our buddy Chuck Wendig doesn’t pay winners but he doesn’t charge either. Instead, ol’ Cherk wants to push you to be productive and creative. Baby-step into contests with one of his Flash Fiction Challenges.
  • Writer’s Digest – They’ve recently added a Self-Published Book Award to their big annual Writing Competition and the slate of genre fiction contests. The prizes include cash and a bundle of other goodies.

So start with these, give it a spin. Tell us your writing contest story. Has it helped you? Did you run into a scam? Have you won a contest before? Do you think Crossroads should do one?

We always want to hear from you!

What folks say (pt 2)

 

I had such a fantastic time, I thought my head would explode. It was so fun talking shop during the sessions and listening to what other writers had to say about All Things Writing. I met some true characters, too, I tell you. All and all, I had a fantastic time. Macon is such a cool place, too.

–  Sarah Domet, a Crossroads guest writer, about her experience:

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