Tag Archives: Jonathan Friesen

Write2Ignite! Conference

2writeThis weekend, I will be attending the second annual Write2Ignite! Writing Conference. This conference is for Christian authors who write for children, and I am really looking forward to it.  I know I’m going to come away from the conference encouraged and motivated, but besides all the good information I’m going to learn, one of the best parts about this conference is that I get to share it with my son.

The conference includes joint sessions and workshops for the adults, which focus on everything from writing short stories and magazine articles to developing young adult novels to submitting your work. Editors and authors will be featured speakers, and attendees can choose the workshops that interest them the most.

But the conference also offers a teen track for students in the seventh through the twelfth grades. The teens will attend their own workshops with Jonathan Friesen, author of the novel Jerk California. His goal for these classes is to increase the students’ passion for their writing, leaving them excited about their work and ready to tell their own stories. He’ll talk about characterization, tension, emotion, and dialog, providing the students with a lot of good instruction as they begin (or continue) to create their own stories.

My son John also attended the first conference, and he came back with journal pages full of ideas and a story he had just started writing. This time, he’s older, and I know he’ll glean even more from the classes. Not only is it a great schooling and learning opportunity, but what makes it so special, too, is that he’ll be taking the class with cousins, friends, and new acquaintances — a shared experience they can talk about later, and perhaps one that will help them encourage each other with their writing.

Writing Opportunities for Kids

Write2Ignite revised2

There are some exciting writing opportunities coming up soon!  Here are a couple of them:


I am already gearing up for the next Write2Ignite! Christian Children’s Writing Conference (www.write2ignite.wordpress.com). It will be held in Greenville, South Carolina in February 2010. And the best part is, it’s not only for adults, but for teens as well!

I have the privilege of being on the planning committee again this year, so I get to find out all the details right away. This time, author Jonathan Friesen will be back to teach the teenagers how to get their stories on paper.

Jonathan’s classes cover a range of topics, including characterization, plot, and emotion. Two of my children attended his classes at the last conference, and they both came away from it inspired to write. That, and they really enjoyed staying in a hotel overnight.


If you enjoy writing fiction, then you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Some of my family members and friends participated last year. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel from start to finish during the month of November. No revising —  just writing, writing, writing.

I don’t think I’ll be trying it this year, as I already have many projects on my plate, but I might just sign up my son John for NaNoWriMo. Students 13 years old and up can participate through the regular site, but they have to stick to the 50,000-word goal. However, there is also a Young Writer’s Program (www.ywp.nanowrimo.org) set up for children 17 and under. Here parents can set the goal for the word count based on the age of the child. After that, the plan is the same — to write and write during the month of November with no revisions at all.

What’s the purpose? To encourage creativity, build confidence, improve writing skills, and teach time management techniques as students work to reach their word-count goal. You know, I just might sign up all my children!

Writer’s Conference

Late at night, when the rest of the family has gone to bed, I like to settle in at the computer and write for children. I have a file full of stories, poems, and articles, some of which have been published, some of which are still waiting to find the right publisher. Last fall, I attended a writing conference for Christian children’s writers to help me with my writing. Not only did I learn a lot, but I met many wonderful people who were supportive, encouraging, and helpful. The best part, however, was that this conference offered classes for students, so I got to take my two oldest children with me!

I’ve been to writing conferences before, but this one was the most fun, because I could share it with them. Their class was with author Jonathan Friesen, and he instructed them on story structure and ideas. They both came away inspired, as they’re still working on the stories he helped them begin.

At lunch, conference attendees had the opportunity to dine with the speakers. My children and I sat with a couple of other authors. Also at our table sat Suzanne Hadley, the editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse Magazine, and Nancy Lohr, editor of JourneyForth Books. Wow! My children were sitting and talking with editors!

And, yes, they did talk. And talk. And talk. They told stories to Ms. Hadley about our life at home, and about how their siblings were faring at home with their dad. Their sister, they said, probably had so many tangles in her hair it was standing up on its own, while their little brother was most likely sitting bug-eyed in front of a computer game. They would laugh and she would laugh. As we talked, I found out Suzanne is the oldest child in a homeschooling family, so I’m sure she understood.

I was very impressed at that luncheon. I was so impressed with Ms. Hadley, who was willing to talk and laugh with my children at this conference that was designed primarily for adults. And I was so impressed with my children, who spoke to this unfamiliar adult with such ease you would think she was part of the family.

I’m thankful I had the opportunity to take my children along and to show them what a conference was like. They enjoyed it too, for, as my son mentioned just the other day, “That was so much fun!”