My StokerCon Workshop on Writing Goals and Defining Success


StokerCon-logo-red-whiteWhen I first started pursuing a writing career eight years ago, I found myself deluged with advice from self-appointed experts. You find these kinds of folks everywhere: local writing groups, podcasts, the blogosphere, convention panels, you name it. You can even find them at late night con parties. (I will always remember the time I was at a party in 2010, stone cold sober, while one completely shitfaced superstar explained to me that I wasn’t a “real writer” because I didn’t have an agent.)

So yes, some people will say you need to have an agent. Others will say that only fools get agents and that you should pursue self-publishing. Some will say success means writing full time. Others say that it is nearly impossible to do so in today’s publishing world. Still others will tell you that you should focus your efforts on the small press and work your way up. Others dismiss the small press entirely.

And so on…

I wasted a lot of time, early on, trying to find the one, true path to publishing success. A lot of time.  Eventually, I found that no such animal exists.

It’s a mistake to look at publishing as a single, monolithic entity. It is, instead, a million different activities taking place in an arena that’s as long and wide and deep as the Pacific Ocean. Asking “How does one find success in publishing?” is a bit like asking “What’s the temperature of the Pacific Ocean?”.  There’s no one, correct answer.

However, finding what the answer is for you is essential. Too many writers fail to achieve success (or fail to enjoy it once they achieve it) because they aren’t able to be brutally honest with themselves about who they are and what they want. I was able to eventually get to the point of defining my writing goals, but I never want anyone else to have to go through the years of uncertainty that I did.

My StokerCon workshop: “Goal Setting for Your Writing Career (or Hobby)” will help students begin the process of defining their own writing goals. I’ve taught this workshop before at the Indianapolis Speculative Fiction Guild’s retreat and have received some great feedback on the evaluation forms. (Some of which I’ll be sharing at the end of this post.) I’m now stoked (see what I did there?) to be bringing my Hoosier know-how to the bright lights of Vegas!

The workshop is divided into two parts. In the first part, I focus on introducing you to three written self-assessment exercises that we’ll complete in class. (Don’t worry…your responses to these exercises will not be shared with me or the other students. I encourage you to simply use them for your own, individual guidance.) These exercises will help you identify:

  1. Your unique obsessions. Those topics, experiences, and fascinations that stir your soul and would make great material for stories. (Regardless of which path you take.)
  2. Your unique strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Your honest ambitions.

The second part of the workshop provides a fairly comprehensive overview of the current publishing ecosystem and the pros and cons of various publishing paths (large New York publishing, small press publishing, and self-publishing). At the conclusion of the workshop, students will be provided with a list of websites, books, and podcasts they should check out to find out more about achieving success in each path. (And of course, you’ll be keeping the self-assessment exercises for future reference as well.)

My strategy for this workshop is to have you increase your knowledge of yourself (in the first hour) and your knowledge of the publishing business (in the second hour) so that you can eventually determine how the two can best connect with each other (when you arrive back home after the convention).

Sound interesting? Spaces are still available. Click the link to register.

Students Praise “Goal Setting for Your Writing Career (or Hobby)”

“Nicole rocked it at the Speculative Fiction Guild retreat with her workshop on setting goals, addressing an audience of writers at various stages of their journey, from new to several years.”

“Interactive exercises helped make it personal and focused.”

“Very informative workshop.”

“Nicole is an engaging speaker who shows she understands the perspective of her students by relating personal experiences related to the subject matter.”

“A great tool for examining our goals and motivations.”

“Very focused.”








Posted on May 2, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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