Did you know I used to be a high school history teacher? Way back in the dark ages, when my kids were small, I taught history classes. Well, social studies classes, since I taught economics as well as western civilization and government as well as US History.
The skills I learned in those classrooms has helped me build my teaching resume for writing workshops and conferences. Teaching in such places has many benefits for a writer:
1. Exposure. Getting your name, face, and work out there to writers, who are also readers.
2. Networking. Meeting other writers, publishers, editors, and agents in the business who are also on faculty. Making friends and building connections.
3. Helping. Helping aspiring writers to climb that publishing mountain. Paying forward all the help you received on your journey.
4. Discipline. Teaching workshops helps you discipline yourself in your presentation, your communication, and your reliability.
There are some things you can do to help make your classes top notch.
1. Hone your craft. Read books on the writing craft. Take workshops. Learn all the time.
2. Learn your way around Powerpoint and the various hookups you need to use technology in the classroom. When you're taking a class, study what you like about the slides, the lighting, the fonts, etc.
3. Write. Keep writing books, incorporating what you learn through study. Keep your skills up to date.
So, how does one go about getting invited to teach? Most novelists don't publish one book and instantly jump on the lecture circuit. (There are some exceptions, but they are just that. Exceptions.)
1. Start Small.
There's nothing wrong with humble beginnings. Contact your local MOPS group coordinator. Give a devotional at a baby shower or bridal shower. Make contact with a bookstore or library to do a book signing and book talk. Advertise on your website and social media that you would love to talk to book clubs. Get comfortable speaking to people about your books, about your journey, etc.
2. Local/State Writing Groups
Join and attend writing groups. These groups are often looking for speakers on various topics. Let them know you're available. Then wow them with a great presentation. Ask if they will write a testimonial for you to use in promoting your speaking/teaching.
3. Apply when the word goes out
Often conferences will issue an open call for workshop teachers/topics. Study recent conferences and see what students are interested in, and what conferences are looking for when it comes to topics.
4. When you're called upon, deliver!
Professional presentation, crisp handouts, great communication, prompt attendance, go the extra mile. All of these will not only make for a great teaching session, but will also increase the likelihood of you being asked back, or having your name spread to other conferences as a writing teacher who delivers the goods.
I've taught at retreats, libraries, writer's groups, single and multi-day conferences. I started small, and I continue to build my teaching resume. I love talking about writing, and I love talking to writers. I hope this will help you, if you want to begin speaking at workshops and conferences.
Best-selling, award-winning author, Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can learn about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspirationalregencyreaders where she spends way too much time!
This is interesting, Erica. Thanks for sharing. By the way, where is everybody today? How am I the first to comment?ReplyDelete
It's a bit of a ghost town today, isn't it? Thanks for commenting so I wasn't so lonely! :)Delete
Nice post, Erika. I taught a writing class at our church. It turned out to be a great way for me to hone my skills. Often I learned new techniques in order to teach them to my class. I also realized my strength in seeing "story" as a whole. That vision has paid off in so many ways.ReplyDelete
It's so true, that you learn at least as much as you teach! I would love to take one of your classes!Delete
I enjoy speaking (I probably wouldn't call it teaching so much) when I'm doing it, and it a good bit locally when I first became published. The life imploded and there just wasn't time to travel and speak, and write and promote. Maybe some day I'll do more speaking again.ReplyDelete
Erica here. I'm not Anonymous, I guess. :) Hopefully more opportunities to speak to groups will continue to crop up. And you'll have time/space to do it! :)Delete
One great place to start is a local school, especially private or Christian schools. The high school English teacher would probably love to host a visit by a published author!ReplyDelete
I hope to get "out there" more - but making that phone call or sending that email to ask if someone would like me to speak is more than daunting. The thought makes my knees shake!
But as some wise person once said - "nothing ventured, nothing gained!"
So true about local schools. I've spoken at elementary schools and at colleges in their English classes. It can be daunting to put yourself out there, but you can do it!Delete
May I suggest public libraries? I was always excited to have an author come to our library when I was in charge of adult programming!ReplyDelete
I'm doing a library talk this Saturday in Red Wing, MN with a couple of my friends. Libraries are great places to talk about books. :DDelete