Calhoun Area Writers


There’s still time to buy a ticket for this Saturday’s 2018 Northwest Georgia Writers Conference. Thinking about going? Here’s what one writer hopes to gain from attending the conference.


The decision to leave my career and become a freelance writer was a difficult one. I was leaving the known—the comfortable—and wading into unknown waters. Over a decade later, I have contributed hundreds of articles to magazines and newspapers, published Project Keepsake, published two eBooks, made dozens of appearances on television and at special events, moved into the editor’s role for several regional magazines, and provided instruction and inspiration for aspiring writers. I’ve learned so much along the way.

Last week a friend asked me why I still attend writing conferences and workshops. 

“You’ve written for years,” he said. “What could you possibly learn?”

I was puzzled by the question.

“I’m still learning,” I finally answered. “Sometimes, I help others. Sometimes, they help me. I show up, listen, learn, and share.”

I’m a believer in life-long learning and subscribe to the notion that the journey to masterful writing never ends. And in today’s changing landscape of publishing and marketing, it’s smart to check in from time to time and take note of what works and doesn’t work for other writers.

With that said, here are a few things I hope to learn (and gain) from attending the 2018 Northwest Georgia Writers Conference in Calhoun this Saturday.

  • NEW TRENDS IN BOOK MARKETING—If you think writing a book is hard, just wait until you start trying to market and sell your books. Wow! Marketing Project Keepsake brought me to my knees a few times. That’s why I’m looking forward to Deborah Malone’s presentation titled, The Nuts and Bolts of Marketing. I hope to finish my novel by the end of the year, and I’m already thinking about my marketing strategy.

  • MASTERFUL STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES—I am always looking for ways to improve my storytelling. Bestselling novelist, Karin Gillespie, will not only talk about the road to publishing her first book, but she will also share a few of her storytelling secrets, and I’ll be in the front row taking notes.

  • A BETTER WAY TO OUTLINE—I’m not one of those writers who can sit down and birth a book with no roadmap. For my current project, I’m using a very crude outline to help me appropriately sequence my story. Nicki Salcedo will cover five tips to help develop stronger outlines which may reduce the stress and time required to get your story on paper.

  • NEW WRITING FRIENDS—I love to meet other writers and hear about their projects. It’s called “networking,” and it works.

  • LEARNING FROM MANUSCRIPT CONSULTATIONS—Literary Agent, Jeanie Loiacono, will be meeting one-on-one with some of the writers to discuss their books. She knows the business. Reservations for these consultations are just $20. My book isn’t far enough along to share with her. However, I plan to ask my friends who have booked consultations with her about their experiences. I’ll ask, “How’d it go? What did she say? What do you plan to do next?” And I will learn from their experiences.

  • PODCASTING 101—Last year, I became infatuated with a storytelling podcast titled, S-Town. As a writer, I’ve considered using podcasting as an alternative medium to post my work in spoken form. Lee Green is a successful podcaster who will talk about how he got started. I plan to pick his brain.

If you think you know everything about writing and publishing, you are wrong. Continue to attend workshops and conferences (use the link on the right to buy a ticket for the 2018 Northwest Georgia Writers Conference in Calhoun on Saturday, May 19). Read books on writing. Listen to what others have to say. The writing journey never ends. 

Freelance writer Amber Lanier Nagle writes from Northwest Georgia. Her book, From the Porch, will be available in June 2018. She hopes to publish her novel in early 2019. Connect with Amber at

8 Reasons to Attend the 2018 Northwest Georgia Writers Conference

stencil.default (4).jpg

By now, you've probably heard about it. The Northwest Georgia Writers Conference is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 in Calhoun, Georgia. Wondering why you should consider attending? Here are 8 reasons to attend the conference this year.

  1. Because as a writer, you enjoy hearing successful published authors talk about the lessons they’ve learned in the writing, publishing, and marketing world—Karin Gillespie (author of the Bottom Dollar Series and more) will talk about her journey to the world of bestselling authors. Deborah Malone will talk about the nuts and bolts of book marketing. There will also be an author panel where successful published authors will answer any and all questions about the craft of writing and the bumpy road to getting published.

  2. Because you’ve always had an idea in your head for a book, but you aren’t sure how to get started writing the story—Nicki Salcedo will discuss the basics of outlining a novel. For many writers, after the outline is constructed, the writing process is almost effortless.

  3. Because you’ve already finished a project, and you are ready to pitch it around—Literary Agent Jeanie Loiacono will be at the conference on Saturday morning for manuscript consultations. Did you know that many publishing houses will not consider your work if you are not represented by a literary agent? Don’t pass up an opportunity to get feedback from a professional who has helped dozens of writers get publishing contracts. Go online to reserve valuable time with her today.

  4. Because you want—or need—to meet more people in the area who enjoy writing as much as you do—Last year, the conference drew in 65 writers in the Northwest Georgia geographic region. Many attendees have kept in touch this year and helped each other with their projects. Some even joined the Calhoun Area Writers and started attending writer critique groups. Others were hired to write for a local magazine. The bottom line is this: networking with other writers opens doors and helps writers grow.

  5. Because you have an interest in poetry or podcasting—Speed presenters Dr. Marsha Mathews will talk about reworking poetry selections, and Lee Green will talk about the art of using podcasting to get a message out and complement writing endeavors.

  6. Because you feel your writing needs a little help—Cheryll Snow will talk about how to infuse dynamic dialogue into your projects. Bookseller Bryan Powell will discuss reasons why people stop reading books, based on his own research.

  7. Because other comparable conferences are farther away and cost a lot more to attend—The Northwest Georgia Writers Conference is a real bargain at $65 for the day ($50 for members). Plus, it is located in the beautiful Harris Arts Center in Calhoun, Georgia, a small town with no traffic and ample parking opportunities.

  8. Because if you register before Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 6 p.m., you can get $10 off of your general admission—That’s right, folks—if you register online before Wednesday at 6 p.m., your ticket is only $55.

Quick and Easy Writing Tips

I've facilitated writing workshops for several years. During these workshops, I always ask attendees, "Do you want to take your writing to the next level?"

Everyone shakes their heads up and down. And so I offer these very basic writing tips to the room. 

  • Write. Write often. Write regularly. Be fearless. The more you write, the easier it is to write.
  • Read. Read a lot. Pay attention to how your favorite authors tell their stories.
  • Work with other writers. Ask for help, and when you can, offer your assistance to others.
  • Keep a notebook handy to jot down story ideas when you think of them.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with smaller projects to develop your writer’s voice (writing style), and build from there.
  • Use stronger action verbs in your writing. For example, The motorcycle ___________ down the street. Dozens of verbs will work, but think about what you really want to say. Zoomed down the street? Flew down the street? Dashed? Rolled? Careened? Swerved? Crept? Pulsed?
  • Add a dash of dialogue to dress up your writing. “Strong dialogue is the spice of life,” the best-selling novelist said.

Master these tips and your writing will go from good to great!

—Amber Nagle, CAW member, writer, editor, and author