Networking for Writers

Writers at the ArtFest

This year the Word Silly writers’ group that is part of the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild had a presence at the Roar! Art Fest in Hamilton, ON. One of our goals is to increase our presence in the growing artistic movement that is making a real impact in Hamilton. 

Networking and connecting with fellow creative minds is part of our journey as writers and authors. For some of us in the group this was a new adventure but one we’ve been preparing and waiting anxiously for. 

It was the first time I took part in this particular event and the overall experience was wonderful. It varied greatly from a writers’ conferences and book fairs that I’m used to attending. Events like the Roar! include artists of every kind. It was overwhelming to see so many creatives concentrated in one place but it was inspiring too. The magical setting of the event conveyed the exceptional level of creativity that imaginative and ingenious minds are capable of. The setting were the old buildings of what used to be the Cotton Factory in Hamilton, ON. These old buildings sit in the heart of lower Hamilton, and they were built in 1900. The impressive construction has been preserved with its original brick walls and hard wood floors maintaining the character of the time it was built. The spaces have been adapted to be re-sued by creative professionals giving home to artistic studios, offices, workshops and events of all sorts.  

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Old Cotton Factory, Hamilton, ON

It surprised me to see the explosion of creativity in so many levels and specialties, from painters and illustrators to fashion designers,  culinary artists, performers, musicians, engravers, potters, sculptors. The artistic vibe was one of a kind.

Our group, Word Silly, is an association of writers who collaborate, encourage and support each other. Composed by authors, Robecca Austin, Christine Colorado, T. J. Cullin, Shane Claire, James Ruth and myself. We all write different genres and we all have some published works and works in progress (W.I.P.s) for this summer 2020. We participated in three anthologies published by the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild:  25 Compelling Tales, Ascending and Arising.

Christine Colorado, Robecca Austin and I also published another two anthologies, Path of the Heart, which features romance short stories; and Illusions of Power, which features Paranormal and Psychological Suspense short stories.

T. J. Cullin and James Ruth have written children’s fiction, poetry and thrillers. Shane Claire writes historical fiction. 

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(back) T. J. Cullin, James Ruth (front) Christine Colorado, Laurie Hazel, Robecca Austin, Shane Claire

As with every great group of friends we have a lot of fun together. Participating in this event was not the exception. It gave us all a chance to mingle with other creative minds and have entertaining conversations with fellow artists, writers, actors, designers and the like. The fun evening was crowned by laughs, deep philosophical debates, and a lot of camaraderie.

Sharing our different world views, our outlook of life and on creativity as an expression of the self  and connecting with so many people was a very enriching experience. 

Our families, friends and fellow writers from the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild visited our stand. 

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Mingling with fellow writers

We set up camp in a shared space with painters, illustrators and photographers. We had the chance to feature our published books and promote ur upcoming work.

It was a fun way to promote our publishings and interact with readers, editors, and illustrators.

We were able to sell some of our books and sign up some interested readers to our mailing lists. Another way to connect with our readers.

Showcasing our Published Work

The highlights of the evening were our reading sessions that went on every hour. Most of us read snippets or extracts from our short stories. Doing a reading of your work in front of a crowd, no matter how small, is nervewracking. The first thought that’ll probably pop in your mind is how your audience is going to judge you through your work. And no, the nerves don’t go away once you start reading. Nonetheless, as an author, you are the one who knows best the emotions behind your own words and so, you are the best one to express that emotion the way it was conceived. Reading a story you wrote, out loud, in front of a crowd, is a chance to give life to those characters you’ve shared so much of your time with. It’s your chance to show them as you see and hear them in your mind.

As you can see in the photos below, we had a blast. Tons of blushing, holding of breath and plenty of laughter. As writers, connecting with our readers and witnessing the effect our stories have on people is something irreplaceable.

This valuable experience taught us that taking part in events of this kind takes courage on many levels. From getting organized to present and feature your work to connecting with people face to face; something writers are not used to doing, as our work is solitary in so many ways. We had the chance to see how more seasoned artists gear up for something like this. We learned what to expect the next time we take part in one of these functions. We also realized how amazing it is to mingle with other creative minds and see how others express themselves through their so very personal art.

Participating in these lively and inspiring events is all part of our journey as writers. As connections and first-hand encounters with readers and the public take place, also great memories are created along the way.

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Laurie Hazel is a Women's Fiction and Inspirational Romance Writer based in Hamilton, ON where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. Her stories are characterized by wholesome, sweet romances where courage, hope and strong faith take centre stage in the face of adversity. Her work has been published by Whispering Willow Press and Colorful Pen Press.


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