Conferences 2010 - 2012

Room To Read and Write

Spring Conference Report 2012:
 The Ebook Revolution
Wendy Robertsom

Instead of celebrating Mother's Day I spent my weekend with some great people - Anne, Erica, Eileen, Judith, Martin,Joy, Geri (and Hilary and Mary in mind if not in body) - working alongside my friends and colleagues the lovely Avril, the very wise Gillian at our Our Room toWrite Conference Weekend. For all of us it - writing tutors and students - it was a steep learning curve.

Our ambition was to demystify - for keen and talented writers - the disciplines and processes of producing high quality Kindle and hard copy versions of our novels and short stories. In other words, to publish our own work to the wholeworld, even into cyberspace.

The challenge for Avril, Gillian and I is that we didn't just want to tell people how to do it, we wanted to show them.
I used a new revised and edited edition of my children's book LIZZAas an exemplar. There was a cheer when we hit 'Publish' and the novel went up and our there. It's up there now, although it still needs a few 'nips and tucks' so I will go in and refine it when I get my breath back. (Youcan do thyis with your Kindle, which is great...)

So. using a laptop, projector and a screen we showed these writers how to make a Kindle book, right from the process of editing a manuscript to the highly prepared level neccessy for these processes, onto how to design covers, and then- actually doing it there in public (!) - to publish the book there and then on Kindle.

That Kindle process took one and a half hours. That will be my standard time in future. (The fist time I did it, myself, it took a day...)

Next, Avril - there and then - showed the writers how - using - great covers can be designed by amateurs. I describeddoing the same thing -as I did for LIZZA using Microsoft Publisher but could not demonstrate it, as Publisher was not on the laptop we had there.

Then using the CreateSpace software Avril - quite brilliantly, I think - took a manuscript of her novella
When You Hear the Birds Sing through to the point of Print on Demand publication, the more complicated process of creating your own paperback book on Print On Demand. She made it seem very do-able and inspired us all.

Of course what we kept saying was - you need patience and the willingness to to do and redo until you get it right. You, need patience with the process and -most imprtantly - with yourself.

We were keen that this process-experience was supported with paperwork which people could go away and put into practice everything they had experienced at the conference. I called these theRoom To Write Ladybird Guides to Kindling and creating a Print on Demand Book. This was writing exercise in itself for Avril and myself - to created directions stripped of the sometimes esoteric repetitions and misdirections in the literature.

Our students really appreciated these documents, I think. Theye went off with these to support their Kindle and CreateSpace Adventure.

Wilting a little, we spent some time of the last afternoon discussing the function of writer's blog for a writer who wanted to use this medium both for developing their own writing and for supporting her or his publications out in cyberspace. Avril, Gillian and I talked about our own blogging experiences as well as Judith, a course member has a well establishe writer's blog as has Anne. Martin, Eileen and Geri - I think! - decided to have a building their own blog.
I came home - as I am sure did they - exhausted but satisfied that something really happened on our Kindling Weekend. I also came home to choclates and wine and handpicked daffodils and two wonderful cards from my lovely son and my very special son-in-law. I don't know whether it was the exhaustion of the great conference or the lovely words on the cards, but I ended up in (very happy) tears.

As a tutor it's always good to know that there are concrete outcomes from your work. I have a very good feeling that several of these writers will go on to produce high quality publications and develop interesting blogs which will reflect the multiplicity of talents of these dedicated writers. They are participating in the democratizing revolution which is transforming the international world of talented writers.

Comments sent by those lovely people, our fellow writers:

It just gets better and better – nothing could have bettered the weekend. Thanks entirely to you and Avril and Gillian. Generous is the word to describe you with your time your know-how, your friendship – and we happy few are the lucky ones and we know how lucky we are. Rest of the week cancelled to get down to the nitty-gritty! Erica
I am definitely going to set up a blog very soon. Thank you for all your hard work. The three of you always put so much effort into the conferences that you set up for us and I found it really worthwhile and interesting’ Geri
Thanks for an excellent weekend. I feel tired, excited, inspired but also, more important, very keen to put some of the masses of ideas that you and Avril have given us into practise. Watch out for my forthcoming Blog. Now have a rest!!! Martin
What an amazing week-end! I have the confidence now to upload my work to Kindle and create my own hard copy book on http://www.createspace.comAs ever Wendy Avril & Gillian have put in the hard work to save the rest of us time and money when learning and applying new skills. Many thanks to Room to Write. Judith
To be in at the birth of a Kindle book was amazing. Wendy Robertson’s LIZZA emerged red-faced yet beautiful into the Kindle World. Thanks to Avril for passing on her wealth of knowledge and expertise on creating a hard copy of our Kindled books and Gillian saw to everything else. The usual wonderful food, company and ambience at Whitworth. Fantastic Weekend, Thanks for everything. Anne O
Many thanks for the exceptional weekend. It was the best yet. My thanks to you and Avril and Gillian, you worked so hard and now I'm hoping to go ahead with Kindle and also create a blog. Eileen


Spring Conference Report 2011:
The Short Story
Wendy Robertson
Some Feedback from Our Participants:
I enjoyed the Saturday course very much and thought it was the best yet.Thank you all, for the preparation and the hard work during the day.The food was good too!
Thank you so much for the Conference on ‘The Short Story’. As usual, it was so professionally produced and by the end of the day, I felt inspired to go away and write my own. Until then, I hadn’t really thought too much about short stories as I was deeply entrenched in my own ‘novel’. The day was fantastic, as usual. The surroundings are brilliant and the food delicious and the course members are enthusiastic. Wendy, Gillian and yourself work so hard to produce a day that is inspiring and rewarding and I really appreciate the hard work that you put into it. It really made me think deeply about short story writing.
Thank you so much for all the preparation you, Wendy and Gillian did to make Saturday the success it was. I learned a great deal. My short story – Forbidden Path – is now a more convincing read

This was my second “writing experience” and equally enjoyable and informative. I realize that I have entered into an apprenticeship which is new, extremely interesting and exciting. One which I never dreamed I would undertake! Hopefully at some point graduation will occur!!

Please express my appreciation to Wendy, Avril and of course to yourself for a splendid day.
I look forward to attending Avril’s writing group and to seeing you at the Oriental Museum in April.


March 2010 One day Conference

Just to say thank-you once again for a lovely day on Saturday. We seemed to cover a lot of ground at quite a pace – all useful stuff as always. I spent a day writing yesterday and was thinking carefully about dialogue and adding some ‘business’. I’ve also had a major re-think about my beginning, all as a result of what we talked about on Saturday. Being introduced to Alice Hoffman has been a real treat too – I think we owe that one to Gillian?! Much love, Jackie

Thank you for the injection of inspiration into my writing. I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Whitworth Hall and already I’m looking forward to the next one.Once again the Room to Write experience was informative and interesting, and enjoyable. Meeting with like minded people never fails to motivate my writing. Hilary
I feel I must write and tell you how much I enjoyed the March Conference in that sunny conservatory at Whitworth Hall.The day was a great success, thanks to you and Wendy preparing such a full programme and to Gillian’s organising skills.I look forward to the next session.Eileen.
The Conservatory at Whitworth
Thank you so much for a wonderful conference on 13th March. It was good to see everyone again and to meet Colleen for the first time. The day was very stimulating and rewarding….and the session on ‘Dialogue’ taught me so much.
I mentioned in my previous post that I was venturing out of the city for a writing-focused retreat sponsored by the organization Room to Write. I truly don’t think that I can duly convey what the experience came to mean to me and will not attempt to do so–rather, I will hold that close to my heart and simply say that I had the privilege of being brought into the fold of some of the loveliest, most accomplished, talented, yet modest and genuinely good-natured folks with whom I could have ever interacted. Sipping tea with them in the conservatory of a Victorian country estate amidst an endless supply of sandwiches, scones, and fruit on a day colored by blue skies, green gardens, and brown deer was sheer heaven…it’s so me (in my dreams), and I could have pinched myself. Hopefully my Midwest American accent was not as piercing on their ears as the sun was in our eyes (Of course not Colleen – we loved having you and loved the accent too – not in the least ‘piercing’)
Colleen – read more on her blog – fallenmonkey
November Weekend Conference Dear Wendy, Avril and Gillian -What can I say? The weekend was wow!! Thank you all so much for your wisdom, imagination and attention to detail. It is Monday morning now and I wish I was still with you all in that lovely room! Jackie
Roomto write proved spacious–capacious, palatial, expansive, open -and every other meaning of the word.Thank you for a really memorable weekend. All the expectation boxes ticked and all due to your hard work and commitment and plain willingness to not spare yourselves to make it a success.
It was good to meet other like-minded folk in such a lovely place and learn from the interaction.Thank you all very much for making Nov7th-8th such memorable days in the year - Erica
Just a short email to convey my great appreciation to you, Wendy and Avril for running such an inspirational and well organised week-end; it was incredibly informative, yet great fun for everyone who attended
thank you for making me feel so very welcome at Whitworth… You have all managed to get me back on a creative frequency; thank you for the great amount of time you devoted to all of us in the group - Mike
Thank you for all the work you did to make the weekend so enjoyable. The workshops were excellent – the ground covered was extensive and all of it was useful. I came away feeling motivated to plough on with my editing and rewrites. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, I know I did. Once again, many thanks, Hilary



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