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Writer’s Toolbox: A writer’s network

One of the things that gets mentioned less is their network of fellow artists. When I was first starting out, I heard “Network! You need to network!” which sounded…okay, I guess? But how was networking going to help me?

Here’s how:

  1. The industry is big enough that you can’t know everything, learn everything, find out about opportunities, etc., all on your own. Building a network of fellow artists (and non-artists) gives you a chance to hear about industry news, views, and publishing call outs.
  2. When it comes to artist-based networks, having a group of people who are in your industry but not in your field (so, writing, but one person is a screenwriter, the other a playwright) allows for diverse opinions and processes that can help to inform your work (and expand your skills).
  3. This industry is rough and tumble in ways that folks in traditional industries may not always understand. Having a band of artist siblings lends encouragement and comfort when times get hard.

So, if networking is good, how do you do it? Well, this is when our personalities come into play. Some of us are more outgoing than others, and it’s important to stick with options that leave you feeling grounded and strong. Networking (in my mind) is about putting myself in environments where I can meet like-minded folks. To that end, events like attending or volunteering at conferences, taking workshop classes, joining writing groups (or starting one) can be great places to start.

University of Toronto-Writing for Children: Introduction

Registration is open for University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, Writing for Children: Introduction.

Classes are recorded for learners who are unable to attend the live sessions and PDFs are provided for each module.

Section 72 Webinars runs every Tuesday, beginning on January 25, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm ET, and runs for 8 weeks.

Section 73 Webinars runs every Wednesday, beginning on January 25, from 1:00-2:30 ET, and runs for 8 weeks.

For more information and to register, visit



CANSCAIP – “First Thousand Words” Editing Fundraiser 2022


If you’ve written a Young Adult novel, Middle Grade novel, Chapter Book, or Picture Book, the first thousand words are what will capture a potential publisher or agent, and they have to be pitch perfect. Or maybe you’ve started a new project and you’re not sure if the opening is working.
CANSCAIP Saskatchewan is here to help. Submit the first thousand words of your manuscript and up to two questions and our team of experienced published authors will give you editorial feedback so you can polish those pages or find out if you’re headed in the right direction.
The edits will be done anonymously as Track Changes in a Word document, as professional publishers use. Your pages will be returned to you within six weeks, with comments alongside the text, and with edits done on lines that need them.
The cost for CANSCAIP Members or Friends is $45, and $65 for all others. One manuscript per registration. Limit of two registrations per person.
The funds raised will go towards CANSCAIP Saskatchewan’s Prairie Horizons Conference in 2023.
This offer will be open from January 1st until 31st or until 95 registrations are received, whichever comes first. 
Once you register, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to submit the first thousand words of your manuscript. If you don’t receive that email, please check your spam folder. And if you still can’t find it, please let us know (

Writing Classes with me in 2022

Hello friends,

If you’re looking to enroll in some writing classes for 2022, please see below for the classes I’ll be teaching.😊

Tuesday January 18 – Tuesday March 8, 2022 (classes run 2X a week)
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
PDF Handouts provided
*ELLA’s mandate is to offer older adults (seniors) non-credit educational courses.

Tuesday January 25, 2022 – Tuesday March 15, 2022 (classes run weekly)
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM, EST
PDF Handouts provided

Wednesday February 15, 2022 – Wednesday April 6, 2022 (classes run weekly)
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM, EST
PDF Handouts provided

Say what you will…

But starting the day with a cat who wants to hold your hand while you rub his ears and Neil Diamond sings, “Forever in Blue Jeans,” in the background is a very warm and civilized way to start the day.

Intro to Writing for Children at the University of Toronto

This fall, join me online with the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. I’ll be teaching Introduction to Children’s Writing (Course 1717, Section 075).
There will be two components – a weekly webinar on Wednesdays, from 6:30-8:30 PM (ET) and an offline component with assignments and exercises.
Modules will cover a variety of topics, from finding story ideas, genres and word counts, and editing. There will also be a module on publishing, covering both traditional and self-publishing options.
To sign up or get more information, please click here.

Starfest 2021 Romance Panel

Please join me at the 2021 Starfest Festival as I host an online romance panel with authors Courtney Milan, Farah Heron & Uzma Jalaluddin. Find full information & buy your tickets at

The flexibility of language?

Occasionally, I come across interesting threads and questions that people put online. A few days ago, a (White Male) had posted a thought and asked for advice.
In his post, he said something along the lines of “It’s Saturday morning and I’m in my office. My two teenage kids are upstairs, playing on their computers and practicing their programming skills. I see the gardener and his son arrive to tend our lawns. Here’s my worry. I worry that my kids will grow up and go into I.T., and talk about how hard they’ve worked to get there–and I agree on all of that, but my concern is that they’ll never understand the privilege they had to spend their Saturdays in their rooms, working on their skills, instead of working all day.”
And I thought it was a fair question. I also thought there were some interesting assumptions made…(of course, in the context of the question–will my children understand their privilege?–I would agree that the dad has to focus on certain points to the exclusion of others)…but what I wondered was if the landscaping son had an interest in his dad’s business. Was he being asked to work because family helps with the heavy lifting or was he looking to one day take over the business and grow it, and was using his Saturdays to get a sense of the company and its clients?
I also wondered about the comparison–one child gets the entire day with his father. The other children will be upstairs in their rooms on a computer. Is one situation considered luckier than the other?
Which is all to say that it had me thinking about the value and meaning we put into situations, how we view and filter experiences, and the flexibility of language (i.e., we create meaning in the words–some would argue the child who gets time with their parent is the luckier/more “privileged” one).
It’s all things I think about when I’m writing character and thinking about situations for said characters to experience, and in the end, great food for both thought and creation.


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