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Here is a guest post from about an upcoming writers’ conference that I am involved in organizing:

Hi from Denyse O’Leary on behalf of the Ottawa Christian Writers’ Fellowship, suggesting you join us April 2 if you are in the area, for all writerly things, at Greenbelt Church. We have a great and highly affordable conference, featuring a noted speaker:


The Honourable David Kilgour

Plenary speaker: The Honourable David Kilgour who will be speaking on Developing your Platform as a Writer

And a choice of workshops:

A1: Memoir Writing     OR    A2: Dialogue Writing

B1: Article Writing        OR    B2: Editing Fiction

C: Panel Discussion and Q & A

PLUS a special deal on critiques of your work. For $25, a professional editor will look at your work.

This year, OCWF can provide manuscript critiques (for half the usual price). For $25, you can submit the first 5 pages in advance, and book a 15-minute appointment with a professional editor. Don’t miss this opportunity to find the best writer in you! **

That could save you dozens of wasted hours learning the hard way.

Now here I am, yer humble hack, to answer three burning questions people ask about writing in general:

  1. Do I have what it takes to be a writer?

That’s not the right question. Probably half a million people in North America make their living mainly by their ability to write. Whether you could be one of them depends on whether you are willing to accept a position like the ones they have. You must start by finding out what genres of writing are available and whether one would fit you. Newsletters? Fiction? Non-fiction? Screenplays? Devotions? One must research the field to see where one’s skills would fit.

  1. Can I make enough money writing?

Yes. No. I don’t know. I’ve been a freelance editor and writer most of my life, and made enough money. But one needs some business skills to be self-employed, which most writers are at least some of the time. So assuming that you can find a genre that works for you, consider whether you can also be successfully self-employed. Writing is a well-developed business for self-employed persons, but one needs to learn a different skill set from that of finding a job.

  1. Does it matter if I often feel discouraged, as if I am not getting anywhere with my writing?

Sure. It matters in the same way that discouragement matters to doctors, preachers, teachers, restauranteurs, and politicians. In each case, we look to the origin of the problem. Maybe we are not cut out for a writing career of any sort. But then again, maybe we are not approaching it in the right way. Maybe we aren’t dealing effectively with barriers and distractions. The best approach to those kinds of problems is to spend more time with other writers, listening to and learning form their struggles and sharing ours with them. That’s why we have an OCWF and a Word Guild.

See you at the conference,


Denyse O’Leary