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National Authors Day and a Speaking Venture


The Day’s Overview:

Did you know that today is National Authors Day?

I didn’t either, but my aunt says it’s so and (almost) anything my Aunt A says goes, so, happy National Authors Day everybody!

Today was REALLY different.

Going along with my theme this month of focusing on writing and writing-related activities, today I did something I’ve never done before. I spoke in public about writing. This was my debut speaking engagement that I mentioned earlier in the week.

I was on a panel with three very talented ladies and I was definitely the newcomer to the writing veterans in the group who spoke about life writing.  Life writing (memoirs, personal essays, and the like) are near and dear to my heart because my great-grandmother was a writer too.

As a girl, my grandmother gave me some of the personal essays her mum wrote about life in the pre-War period (that’s WWI) and her earliest memories growing up in the 1890’s-1900’s in a small Midwestern town.  I still have these (somewhere…) and take them out now and again to re-read and connect with my roots.

Life writing is a great way to preserve the past and honor our loved ones and Linda O’Connell and Donna Volkenannt did such a great job.

Jennifer Shew, the Municipal Liason for the St. Louis chapter of National Novel Writing Month spoke on why folks should consider participating in NaNoWriMo. She went into the history of the event, her outlook as a “pantster” and a fiction writer, and all of the great activities available to STL-area residents interested in becoming a “Wrimo”.  Jennifer is crazy-knowledgable about NaNo and a super-nice gal so if you live in the area and are participating in NaNoWriMo, please consider a donation to the Office of Letters and Light. Your ML’s love that and your profile pic gets a shiny halo too.

Feedback was generally positive for the event. Here is some of the feedback I received about my presentation at the workshop, straight from the Facebook event page (Workshop for Writers: Jumpstart your Novel or Memoir).

Kim Schaefer Lehnoff said:

“Got inspired at today’s workshop – I wanna be Linda O’Connell in my next life! She and Donna Volkenannt gave great advice about life writing and the world of personal essays.

Jennifer Shaw got me fired up about NaNoWriMO, and Lauren Miller gave great advice about Scrivener and how to be a “plotter” rather than a “pantser” to make the most of NaNoWriMo!

I feel more confident, and I WILL WRITE TODAY! Thanks!”

Teresa Schnellmann said:

“It was inspiring! Thanks so much for a great presentation.”

For the sake of the blog, my husband was a willing guinea pig. Dennis took some photos of me while presenting (to prove I was really there!).  Unfortunately most of them were blurry or far away but here are a couple of the better ones from a few moments today:

That was my day, in a nutshell.  While I’ve yet to purchase any fun NaNo gear this year, I dug up my “Let Your Imagination Rain” poster from the attic and scored a sweet NaNo pencil at the event. Thanks Jennifer!

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Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has seventeen years of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). Lauren is the Managing Web Editor and writer for The Scribe, a web publication of the St. Louis Writers Guild, where she also serves as their Director of Communications. She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at LaurenJoanMiller.com.

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