Monday, November 1, 2010

Redwood Writers Conference Part 1: Keynote Elisa Southard

The dining room was full at Saturday's Redwood Writers Conference, which I attended at the historic Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, CA. Our morning keynote was Elisa Southard, whose motto is "Don't kill your writing. Execute it."

Author of the book, Break Through the Noise: 9 Tools to Propel Your Marketing Message, Southard led us through an exercise to shift our attitude from "I am [a creative nonfiction-travel-freelance writer]" to "I can [impact readers-inspire travelers-inform people.]"

Southard advised writers to create a talking tag line; rather than simply state what type of writer you are, name your audience and identify the ways they will resonate: "Insert it in your social media profile, weave it into a presentation, sign your email with it."


Southard also provided several examples of writers who, when faced with adversity, experienced a shift in perspective to succeed. One of my favorites, Beatrix Potter, whose own mother refused to recognize her gift, left her artistic legacy to us over a century later. "No one is exempt from the challenge to change their viewpoint," Southard insisted.

Though we must be serious about our work, she said, we must not forget lightheartedness and spontaneity.


Southard follows her own advice. After receiving a motorcycle as a birthday present last year, she became a columnist at Helmet Hair Magazine and has launched a new project "for young women to take control and travel confidently."

Look forward to more posts on conference keynote Sheldon Siegel and workshops by authors Teresa LeYung Ryan, Tanya Egan Gibson, Pamela Pizzimenti and poet Terry Ehret!

2 comments:

Malena said...

Thank you for this post, Nicole. You do a service to those who could not attend the conference.
I, too, derive great inspiration from Beatrix Potter, who is one of my favorite authors. I'm so glad she didn't decide to give up on her creative pursuits and do as she was told.
I look forward to reading about all of speakers here.
Thanks again.
Malena

Elisa said...

Thank you for your posting, and also the insouciance graphic! You are a true gem to the literary community.

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