This week after the phenomenal responses from the Kiwi young writers conference a questionnaire was sent to all Australian and New Zealand young writers as to their preference for a Friday or a Saturday conference.
80% overwhelmingly spoke in favour of a Saturday conference and for the simple reason, that as volunteers, a weekend away was financially responsible, more so with air-fare scholarships and billets provided. So Saturday 13 September it is.
The series of photographs in this article are from that New Zealand young writer conference.
Helen McIntosh and Sophia Sinclair
With Sophia Sinclair again presenting her plenary 'Finding Our Voice', Sophia recently rejoicing by becoming a new mum, has provide a precise:
Finding Our Collective Voice
A couple of months ago Mark Tronson and I had a conversation about the style and nature of the young writer's collective. He asked me to share some of my thoughts and reflections here and lead us in discussion – because who we are as a group of young writers can be largely defined by the way we see ourselves.
I believe there are three great strengths to who we are as a collective and what we're doing, but with each strength comes a challenge:
Photo - Matt Browning and Daniel Jang
Personal, confessional blog style writing is an increasingly popular form of journalism.
The big challenge of blog/comment style writing is resisting the temptation to be overly self-focused. We need to work hard to keep our articles relevant and timely.
â€¢ Diversity of background/experiences
Christian Today provides a great platform for us to express our diversity in allowing us to write about whatever takes our fancy. As a result our writing brings freshness, flexibility and individuality to the site.
While our diversity of experience is a great strength there is also a challenge to stay unified and connected so we operate as a collective. Working in isolation is great for diversity, but not so great for collaboration.
Photo - Peter Rope and Gemma Taylor
â€¢ Good co-ordination
The young writers program is one of the most successful inclusions of Gen Y in a writing ministry I've observed. At the conference in Melbourne last year one of the young writers thanked Mark for his hard work in coordinating the writers. She pointed out how hard it is to organise and coordinate volunteers and any of you who have had to co-ordinate helpers at church or for sports teams will know this to be true!
These New Zealand and Australia day conferences help us to link together and get to know each other better. These conferences help us to rise to the challenges we face as a collective. As I said earlier – who we are comes from who we as a collective see ourselves to be.
Casey Murray, Daniel Jang, Tony Dunkerely, Tash McGill
Finding Our Individual Voice
We've discussed who we are as a collective, but I want to spend a bit of time looking at who we are as writers – as individuals. One of the great strengths I mentioned earlier is our diversity of age and experience.
I want you to think about your overall writing voice. Voice is the distinct personality, style, or point of view of your work.
You probably have writers you love to read, and other writers you can't stand because their tone is unappealing to you.
Mark says he views our writing as targeted towards our peers and views our writing as our way of showing that it's possible to be a follower of Jesus and remain a thinking sensible person. This allows us to explore further and reveal more of ourselves – our queries, doubts, hopes and expectations.
Tony Dunkerley and Dr Mark Tronson
Finding Focus in Our Work
We've all been there – you get the notification to say your article is due and you have nothing. The feeling of panic. Then hours of endless internet "research" and finally you settle on something! I thought we could use the remainder of the time to discuss some article ideas and brainstorm together.
That's the teaser
That's the teaser for Saturday 13 September 2014 'Basil Sellers Young Writer Awards' conference on the Gold Coast. Along with Sophia we have invited Casey Murray (NZ) and Jeremy Dover (Australia) to speak.
Casey Murray and Jeremy Dover - become the tag team for the NZ conference in 2015 as were Tony Dunkerley and Sam Burrows in Melbourne last September and Wellington in March at the PSI young writer conferences.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html