Writers Conference


4th Annual Writers Conference
July 18-20, 2008-Grapevine, Texas

A forum for journalists, writers, readers, students, educators and the general public to listen to, be inspired by and discuss literary nonfiction in all its forms with some of the most talented in the genre.
The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference


July 18-20, 2008 (Friday 6 p.m.-Sunday-12:30 p.m.)
Conference opens on Friday, July 18, 6 p.m. with a Welcome To Texas Dinner. Lecture follows featuring Bob Shacochis, one of America’s most acclaimed storytellers.

See the complete schedule: PDF / DOC

For complete speaker bios click here.

  • N. Scott Momaday-1969 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Bob Shacochis, National Book Award Winner
  • Candice Millard, River of Doubt
  • John Burnett, NPR correspondent
  • Stella Chavez, writer, The Dallas Morning News
  • Susannah Charleson, The Scent of the Missing
  • Pam Colloff, writer, Texas Monthly
  • Lee Hancock, enterprise reporter, The Dallas Morning News
  • Nick Heil, The Dark Summit
  • Tim Madigan, writer, The Star-Telegram
  • Cathleen Medwick, contributing editor at O, the Oprah Magazine
  • Paul Meyer, writer, The Dallas Morning News
  • Ben Montgomery, writer, St. Petersburg Times
  • David Patterson, senior editor, Henry Holt & Co.
  • Brian Sweany, articles editor, Texas Monthly
  • Wright Thompson, ESPN.com
  • Andy Van De Voorde, Village Voice Media
  • Ken Wells, senior editor, Portfolio magazine
  • Alexandra Wolfe, writer, Portfolio magazine


Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center
Conference Code: 3MA
Conference Room Rate: $120.00
1800 Highway 26 East
Grapevine, Texas
Sorry, no refunds. Fee information can be found here.
Scholarships for high school and college students-includes registration fee, meals and two nights lodging at the Hilton DFW Lakes.  Co-sponsored by The Dallas Morning News and the Mayborn Graduate School of Journalism.

Deadline to apply: July 1, 2008

Six cash prizes totaling $12,000 will be presented to the top article/essay winners.  The winning manuscript will receive a $3,000 cash prize and a provisional book contract with UNT Press. Click the links below for details.

Writing Contest and Workshops

Article Application Form

See more information about the
provisional book contract.
The Writer’s Garret is closing registration for the Mayborn’s Pre-Conference Workshhops on April 29. The workshops, conducted by writers Julianne McCullagh and Talmage Boston, will be held at the Writers’ Garret on May 3, 17 and 31. See details.

The Writers’ League of Texas also offers a pre-conference workshop specifically for writers submitting work to the Mayborn Conference. See details.


For I Will Give You Words, by Jodi Whisenhunt

Got writer’s block?  It’s not uncommon for writers to be stumped every now and then.  One day you’re on a roll writing 10 pages of new material, the next nothing.  You sit down to write, and a blank white screen (or page) stares back at you, taunting you, blurring your vision and numbing your mind. 

Some people take a break when their creativity halts.  In his book Writing for the Soul, Jerry B. Jenkins says there is no such thing as writer’s block.  Writing is a job.  Saying you have writer’s block is like a factory worker saying he has worker’s block!  I don’t think the foreman would give anyone a day off for that excuse.  And you shouldn’t give yourself the day off either.

When you feel uninspired, don’t fret.  Don’t get discouraged.  Paul instructs in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything.”  Through prayer, with a thankful heart, present your requests to God, and He will provide a peace so great it surpasses all understanding (vs. 7).  Sit back, take a deep breath, and relax. 

In Luke chapter 21, Jesus discloses some harrowing information about the end of the age.  But He tells the disciples to “make up your mind not to worry.” (vs. 14)  He assures them in verse 15, “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”  So, make the choice to trust that God will guide you.  Seek Him first in all you do, and let Him lead.  He will provide your inspiration.

Last Night’s Meeting

Last night’s meeting was very productive with 9 people in attendance.  Maybe we should meet at Panera more often.  After some open discussion about various writing topics, we moved on to peer editing.  A few people had material ready to share.  Normally, we partner off to peer edit, but this time we stayed together as a group. 

Bill volunteered one of his pieces, a strong defense of the Trinity.  Nice work, Bill!  I hope our suggestions were helpful.  

Betty shared a little about her World War II piece that’s slated for inclusion in a book.  Congratulations, Betty, that’s very exciting!  Betty also shared a word of advice that has helped her become a better writer: be a better listener.  She almost missed the opportunity to write that World War II story, because she kept tuning out her friend’s words.  

Brenna shared her book proposal and talked a little about that process.  Several group members are interested in writing a book, so any helpful tips are appreciated. 

Brenna and I both had to leave at that point, but the rest stayed awhile longer.  They discussed Heather’s devotional book idea and Amanda’s grief book.  I know I benefitted from everyone’s insight.  We all missed our great leader, though.  Joann, we’re all praying for you, Slater and your family.

Next month’s meeting will probably be back on the church campus in our regular room, 3115.  Hope to see all of you then!

Writing for Him, Jodi

Conviction & Commitment by Jodi Whisenhunt

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last,” Jesus told His disciples in John 15:16.  He has chosen and appointed you, too, you who have been called to write.  God calls us to His task, but Satan is always on the prowl.  He aspires to prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose.  Thus, finding time to write is often a challenge.

Satan is master at distraction, deceiving us with false urgencies.  He whispers thoughts in our ears like, “I’d love to sit down and finish writing this chapter, but dinner will burn if I don’t get it out of the oven right this second!”  Or, “The clothes in the dryer will wrinkle if I don’t hang them up immediately.”  How about, “I’m recording this golf tournament, but if I don’t watch Tiger win while it’s on live TV, it just won’t be the same.”

I Thessalonians 1:4 says, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.”  God desires us to work for Him.  He needs us to work for Him, to go out into the world and represent Him.  In fact, Jesus commands us in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples of all nations”.

Whether we write mainstream fiction or daily devotions, we need to be as committed to the Lord as He is to us.  Colossians 3:23 instructs, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  When we commit our ways to Him, He helps us to resist the devil, and James 4:7 reminds us that when we resist the devil, he will flee from us.  He will be unable to distract us or to keep us from doing God’s will.

So keep in mind when God taps on your shoulder and asks you to be His vessel Psalm 37:5, which says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”  You will be able to discern true urgencies and to detect Satan’s deceptions.

Go sit down and write, and “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Seasonal Writing Calendar

The June issue of The Writer Magazine contains a chart by Donna Bear titled “A Freelancer’s Seasonal Writing Calendar” (page 12).  Did you know that now is the time to submit Christmas themed articles?  For you sports fans, June is also the time to send in basketball material, and July Super Bowl stuff!  We really need to think ahead and follow writers’ guidelines for submissions.  Below is a summary of Donna’s tips:

  • June…Holiday decor & activities; basketball
  • July…New Year’s prep; winter activities; Super Bowl
  • August…Valentine’s Day
  • September…Gardening; spring break
  • October…Easter; tax prep
  • November…Mother’s Day; Memorial Day; planning for summer
  • December…Father’s Day; end of school
  • January…4th of July; summer vacation
  • February…Beginning of school; nutrition; technology
  • March…Fall decor, planting & fashions
  • April…The World Series; Halloween
  • May…Thanksgiving; Veterans Day; voting & politics


You might have noticed I made a few changes to the blog.  I changed the theme to one that allows more options.  I’m trying to get the custom header rebuilt.  I added something silly to the sidebar on the right: games!  Now, spend time there wisely.  It’s only on there to give your brain a break!

Hope you like the new design!


***Thank you, Seth, for unsquishing the header!***

Something fun & challenging!

Up to a challenge?  Try writing an entire novel in 30 days!  Visit nanowrimo.com to learn how to participate.

“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”

There’s no monetary reward.  However, those who actually complete 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, will be added to the “hallowed Winner’s Page”, and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web icon. You also get the great satisfaction of writing and completing an entire novel!

There’s a corollary editing month in March at www.nanoedmo.net.  People from all over the world spend 50 hours in March editing their novels. Think you have what it takes? Then sign up and get your red pen ready because on March 1st the fun begins!