The Black Writers Family Mourns the Loss of Gwynne Forster

Gwynne Forster, literary behemoth and longtime BWRC family, has passed on.

Her best-selling and critically acclaimed works are lyrical brilliance, done with only the thoughtful flair of a seasoned professional.

An inaugural Black Writers Reunion & Conference (BWRC) workshop presenter and participant, Gwynne has flawlessly delivered such courses as:

Ideas, Theme & Premise (2000)
Getting Started on a Novel (2006), and 
Scene & Setting (2010) 

Gwynne Forster (pictured with Mathew Wilson) BWRC 2008
Gwynne Forster (pictured with Mathew Wilson) Black Writers Reunion & Conference Tampa 2008

It was Gwynne, in fact, who encouraged and supported the continuation and expansion of BWRC, telling us to continue producing quality events for Black writers “no matter what.”

Gwynne was a pivotal and inspirational member of the BWRC family. The consummate professional, she served equally as mentor, workshop facilitator, and most important, friend.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ― Louis L’Amour

Thank you, dear Gwynne, for being our wellspring.

– Black Writers

Gwynne Forster leading a workshop at Black Writers Reunion & Conference 2010 Atlanta
Gwynne Forster leading a workshop at Black Writers Reunion & Conference Atlanta 2010
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Black and Write: The Full Documentary

Black & Write Documentary Film on Black Writers

“’Black and Write’: An Inside Look at the African-American Writing Experience” offers an insightful look into the lives and struggles of contemporary, self-published Black writers. Filmed in part at the last Black Writers Reunion & Conference and released in 2013, the award-winning documentary further underscored the importance of high-quality educational events by and for Black creative writers and was a strong impetus for the return of Black Writers Events.

When asked what prompted plans for the 2015 events, Black Writers Events founder & CEO Tia Ross stated, “We missed each other too much, but there’s also the obvious ongoing demand for the quality programs we offer to aspiring writers who are eager to learn and perfect their craft and established authors who crave the nurturing and camaraderie that are intrinsic to the Black Writers family.”

As you watch the documentary, know that the Black Writers legacy is “to be continued.” Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified of upcoming events.

Directed & Produced by C. Mikki, Southern Gurl Media Group
Running time: 53:07

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Resolutions for the Aspiring Writer

Start writing today

Start writing todayWe know the common New Year’s resolutions people make: lose weight, save money, get more organized. As a writer, you probably have at least one writing-oriented resolution. But, why not make your entire list of resolutions for this year those that’ll lead to success to your writing goals? Here are some resolution ideas you might make and how to keep them.

Create and commit to a routine of writing

Plain and simple, nothing gets written if you don’t write it. Sometimes it seems that most of writing is the waiting for it to happen somewhere in between the procrastination snacking and the writer’s block at the eleventh hour. We can even get into the habit of only writing when we feel like it or when pressed with a deadline. Try writing promptsHowever, your craft will not improve if you don’t practice it. Set objective goals that are realistic and measurable. Either commit to a word count (perhaps using word count meters to track your progress) or an amount of time that you will write on a daily or weekly basis. For example, 200 words or one hour per day are easy goals. Use this time to write about anything to exercise your creative muscle or use the time to devote to a project, which leads to the next resolution…

Finish that writing project

You know which one. It’s THE project – the collection of poems, the finished book, the biography. It’s the one that has sat half-done for longer than you can remember. You can envision the finished product, yet finishing it has become your personal Moby Dick. Well, channel your inner Captain Ahab and finish it once and for all. Sit down and write out a timeline and give yourself deadlines to meet. Use your writing routine as time to dedicate to it.

Find other writers

Meetup.com is a great place to find local writers. Many writing groups will have weekly meet-ups where you can share your work for feedback and hear what other people are working on. It’s a great way to find inspiration and support. Also, join groups online where you can connect with writers and exchange ideas. These connections in person and online can lead to other possibilities like finding someone to walk you through publishing your first book. Or attend writers’ conferences, workshops, and retreats, like those produced by Black Writers Events.

Try a new genre

Writing in a different genre is another way to keep your mind fresh and flexible. Trying out new genres also brings diversity to your portfolio when you apply for a writing position. If you mainly write non-fiction, try writing a short story. If you write novels, try writing an article on current events. And everyone should try his or her pen at poetry. What’s a writing collection if you don’t have a few embarrassing poems of ardent love sprinkled in there (hopefully, only discovered posthumously).

The more you actively remind yourself of the reasons that you enjoy writing and are a writer, the more this can motivate you to continue on with your resolutions. The most important thing is to have confidence in yourself and in your craft. Happy writing!

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Spotlight on Dr. Anita Heiss

BWRC shines the spotlight on four-time workshop facilitator, Dr. Anita Heiss. Dr. Heiss will be presenting Writing Faction at the 2012 Black Writers Reunion & Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Her workshop is designed for those who want to understand both the benefits of weaving real life stories and characters into their novels, using an ethical and creative approach while protecting themselves legally.
Continue reading “Spotlight on Dr. Anita Heiss”

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Spotlight on Dr. Linda Beed

BWRC shines the spotlight on dual workshop facilitator, Dr. Linda Beed. Dr. Beed will be presenting Investment Writing and M.A.D. Writing (Making a Difference With Your Writing) at the 2012 Black Writers Reunion & Conference in Fort Lauderdale.

What would you like attendees to know about you, your background, strengths, or interests that are not included in your bio?
What I’d like people to know about me is that I care enough to reach out to others. As an independent publisher I learned fast that there is strength in support and shared knowledge. I have a passion for the written, spoken and performing arts. Embracing creative ways to take the word to the masses, I believe is the responsibility of those entrusted with the gift.

How did you get started writing/publishing/etc.?
I’ve always written, but my first step toward publication came after I entered a short story contest. My decision to independently publish came after I saw what publishers wanted to turn my story into.

Who is one author that you look up to and why?
Maya Angelou tops my list of many. She does because at the crossroads of my life, her undiluted words reached out, embraced and encouraged me.

How did you master the topics you’ll be presenting at BWRC?
‘Investment Writer and Writing M.A.D.’ came from listening to the readers. We all know that there’s not a story written that hasn’t been told. That being the case, it becomes the responsibility of the writer to take that familiar tale and make it uniquely their own. Similarly, one must ask themselves if their writing is making a difference in the lives of their readers. If not, why?

If you were to describe your upcoming session/presentation in one word, what would it be?
Necessary

Who is your session particularly suited for, i.e., what interests, experience, skill level should they have to benefit most from your session?
My sessions are geared toward the beginning and intermediate writer. Their most beneficial skill will be their desire to succeed.

At what other writers’ conferences have you presented a session?
I’ve previously presented at the Faith Based Arts Conference, Romantic Times, Romance Slam Jam and The Write Plan workshops.

What advice would you give to someone who has never attended a writers’ conference?
Take the time to acknowledge your needs and your wants. From the course catalog select a balance of courses that will meet both needs. I also suggest that attendees come with an expectation of learning, sharing and connecting with literary professionals who have their best interest in mind. And of course, plan to have fun.

If 2012 will not be your first, what was your first experience with BWRC?
My first experience with the BWRC elevated my expectations in what a writer’s conference can be.

What keeps you coming back to BWRC?
I return to the BWRC because of its continuing education value for beginning and seasoned authors.

What do you believe separates BWRC from other writers’ conferences?
In my opinion what separates the BWRC from other conferences is its focus upon the needs of the attendees rather than that of featured speakers.
Dr. Linda Beed
What are some of the projects you have in the works? Are there any in particular you’d like us to look out for in the near future?
This year I have completed two new projects; the first being the upcoming release of my novel, Through the Fire from On Assignment Publications. The second is my one-woman monologue, Tell Them, which is being adapted into a one act stage play. Tell Them depicts the last day of Denise McNair, the youngest victim of the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, the mother left to preserve her legacy, and extends a message of hope to others. My ongoing project is The Write Plan. This series of workshops is geared toward teaching the business side of the industry.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The best piece of advice any author can receive is that they take the time to learn the business side of the industry.

What is something you wish someone would have told you about being an author/publisher/playwright/poet/producer/etc.?
This may sound odd, but I wish someone would have told me that not following industry spin and trends will not make you a failure.

Website address: www.lindabeed.com and thewriteplan.net

Blog address and/or Facebook, Twitter, etc:
thewriteplan.blogspot.com
Twitter @lindabeed

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Agent Pitch Session Appointments Now Available

Greetings writers,

Scheduling has begun for the pitch sessions with literary agents Dawn Michelle Hardy and Janell Walden Agyeman. These one-on-one sessions will only be available to individuals registered for the full conference. Appointments are limited and must be scheduled in advance.

The sessions will be held on Thursday, Aug. 30 and scheduling will be on a first come, first served basis. Once the time slots have been filled, additional interested participants will be placed on a waiting list, in the event of a cancellation.

Ms. Hardy is looking to acquire non-fiction, pop-culture, women’s fiction and empowerment titles.

Ms. Agyeman is seeking young adult / middle-grade fiction and adult non-fiction.

To learn more about them, please see http://www.blackwriters.org/pitch-sessions/.

If you have a completed manuscript and are ready to schedule, or would like additional information, contact veronica (@) blackwriters.org.

Veronica Fields Johnson
BWRC 2012 Pitch Session Coordinator

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