Author, columnist, and speaker N. J. Lindquist is known not only for her ability to write, but also for her ability to teach others the craft of writing. An encourager who loves to empower others, N. J.’s focus is on fulfilling your dreams with excellence.

She has a variety of topics and formats, from the 60-minute “Three Keys to Discovering the Writer In You” to intensive all-day seminars such as “The Art, Craft, Business, and Ministry of Writing.”

All day workshops (or 3 two-hour sessions)

The Art, Craft, Business, and Ministry of Writing

Get an insider’s glimpse into the world of writing and help planning your next steps from one of Canada’s most influential Christian writers, editors, and publishers. Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a speaker with a book, or a career author, if you want to understand how the publishing world operates, you’ll benefit greatly from this interactive workshop. Topics include:

  • The art of writing (strive for originality, go outside the box)
  • The craft of writing (say exactly what you want to say in the way you want to say it)
  • The business of writing (know your goals, have a plan, work in an orderly fashion, network and promote)
  • The ministry of writing (share what’s in your heart in order to help others)

Get to Know the Writer in You

Whether you’re a raw beginner or have some experience, you need to reflect on what you would like to get out of writing, examine what it means to be a writer, and plan for your future. This practical session breaks down the complex subject of “being a writer” into ABCs and helps you see how to make your desire to write a reality. Lots of handouts to take with you.

Recycle Your Personal Experiences

I had dropped my husband at the airport and stopped to buy groceries. As I got out of the car, my keys fell down a grate in the parking lot. There I was, with three children under the age of four and no keys to my car or my house. What to do? Write about it, of course! Many people begin writing because they have a story to share. This class will help you decide which of your stories are worth sharing, how to write them, and what to do with them once they are written.

Fiction: An Intensive-Care Clinic

“I could write better than that!” Recognize the feeling? Want to find out if you’re right? Or perhaps, like Snoopy, you keep repeating, “It was a dark and stormy night,” but can’t decide what should come next. In this workshop we will examine fiction from its skeleton and inner parts—characters, conflict, and structure—to the muscles and flesh—theme, technique, and revision. We will then talk about that elusive oxygen—passion—that fills you with the desire to write and brings your work to life.

So You Want to Write a Book…Everything You Need to Know about Book Publishing

You just got a great idea and you know it needs to be a book. Or perhaps other people have told you that you should write the story of your life or a how-to book on what you know. But how do you decide if your idea is really worth all the work and effort of a book? And what do you do next? This workshop will give you an insider’s overview of the book publishing industry and help you figure out your next steps.

 

Writing Workshops or Single Presentations (1 – 2 hours, or as practicums if given a longer time.)

Three Keys to Discovering the Writer in You

A 60-minute version of “Get to Know the Writer in You.”

Ten Keys to Discovering the Writer in You

A 90-minute to two-hour version of “Get to Know the Writer in You”.

Writing a Story is Like Baking a Cake

Whether you’re writing fiction or a true story, there are certain ingredients that need to be included. Do you begin with the characters or the plot? Write out every scene in advance or simply sit down and go wherever your muse takes you? Consciously put in metaphors and foreshadowing, or just hope someone somewhere will see more in your words than you ever dreamed possible? We will discuss these topics and more as we work through a recipe for the development of stories from original concept to completed form.

Take the Mystery Out of Mystery Writing

Learn what the different genres of mysteries are; how to do research on police, PI’s, and forensics; how to create well-rounded protagonists and villains; how to formulate plots so that you can create interesting red herrings while still giving good clues; and how to create suspense and keep the readers guessing.

Creating Characters That Live On

The key to good fiction is the people. How do you decide which characters are right for a short story and which are worthy of a book? Make your main characters three-dimensional? Keep your supporting characters from being wooden or stereotypical? Allow your characters to “be” without letting them take over? Bring a character you are developing to the workshop.

Keeping Your Readers Up All Night

Can you summarize your story in one sentence? Do you have conflict, style, pacing, and compelling characters? Do you know how to create suspense? How to make people care enough to read on? And if you are successful in writing one book, how do you allow for sequels?

Whose Point of View Is It This Time?

It ought to be easy, right. The story is about John, so I’ll use John’s point of view. Or maybe it would be better if I told it from Gracie’s point of view, because she’s more objective way. But then, neither of them sees everything, so maybe I should tell it from my point of view! Learn how to decide which POV is right for your story.

Writing Dialogue That Grabs

It’s not enough to have your characters simply talk to each other the way you and I might talk. Dialogue has to accomplish three purposes. It has to reveal character, advance the plot, and flow smoothly, like a river, drawing you in deeper and deeper, pulling you along like a compelling tide. Learn how to accomplish these goals.

What to Do When the Editor Says, “Show, Don’t Tell!”

The most common problem new writers have is telling the reader what they are trying to say rather than letting the reader figure out it. This workshop will help you understand what the editor means and edit your writing to avoid this trap.

What to Do With a Great Idea and Where to Find Another One

Some people have more ideas than they know what to do with; others have only a few ideas they carefully keep to themselves. This workshop will help you recognize good ideas and prepare to use them so they aren’t wasted.

Let the Whole World Know

Writing is only one aspect of a writer’s life. By becoming a “professional” writer, one enters the world of publishing, press kits, agents, interviews, reviewers, syndication, speaking appearances, critiquing, and judging others. Nancy shares what she has learned as a magazine editor, freelance writer, columnist, book author, publisher, and speaker.

Q and A on Marketing Your Work and Getting Published

How do you move from dreamer to published writer? It helps a lot to understand the publishing process – how to approach an editor, how to write a query letter or proposal, how to present yourself as a professional, and how to become someone editors look forward to seeing again. No question is too dumb to ask!

Keynote Talks

Find the Courage to Answer God’s Call (three 40 – 60 minute sessions)

Abraham Lincoln credited the beginning of the war to end slavery to the writing of one book: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Did she know, while working on her book, what would happen as a result that the 5,000 books in the first print-run would be gone in a week; that at the end of the first year, 300,000 copies of the book would have been sold? Or did she know only that this was a story she needed to tell?

Throughout history, in the lives of Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Gideon, Deborah, Mary, Paul and so many others, we see God calling individuals to step out in faith for him. He doesn’t give a map; He just says “Go” or “Come” or sometimes “Stay.” One step at a time.

God has created each of us in His image and has given us the gifts and talents that are perfect for us. But whether our gifts and talents are few or many, if we nurture them and use them in obedience, God will cause amazing things to happen through us. If we ignore them, or misuse them, we’re not only disobeying him, but hiding our salt and light from those in need of our help.

What is the call on your life? Have you taken the first step yet? Are you nearing the end of one journey and wondering what comes next? Or have you reached what seems to be a dead end and you’re wondering if you took the wrong path?

Find Your Role in the Body of Christ (three 40 – 60 min. sessions)

Being a writer is a lot of things – a habit, a calling, a privilege, a responsibility, a joy, sometimes a pain… The list goes on. But Christian who feel called to write also need to put their writing into the context of who they are in Christ, understand the role of writers in the Body of Christ, see how their writing relates to their spiritual gifts, and develop a plan for growing their abilities.

Born to Write (three 40-60 min. sessions)

N. J. shares the story of the long journey that led her from being an introverted child whose biggest joy was reading and making up stories (and whose grade 11 English teacher told her parents to talk her out of trying to become a teacher) to a successful teacher, pioneer homeschooler, author, speaker, founder and executive director of The Word Guild, and director of Write! Canada. Her goal is to encourage listeners to look for God’s leading in their lives.

How Faith Influences Your Writing (three 40-60 min. sessions)

As Christians, whether we are writers or not, our first priority is to be in touch with God and be obedient to him. If we lose track of that first priority, we are like a ships without a rudder and may go into all sorts of dead-ends or get caught up in activity for the sake of activity or go off on needless tangents. So how do we, in the busy, often frustrating life of writers, stay true to our first priority – to have a close relationship with God?

 

Comments from anonymous evaluations about N. J.’s writing workshops 

Fast-paced, very organized. Provided helpful tips.

Informative and understood.

Not long enough, very good.

Very practical.

Nancy is very warm and helpful.

Great—very encouraging!

Well-organized, very helpful, excellent practical help!

Very good!

The most helpful part of the conference.

Excellent handouts!

Well-organized and prepared.

Fantastic! This workshop could easily have been a continuing class, very helpful material, encouraging, inspirational!

She was quite thorough and gave out very good hand-outs. I appreciated her input from her own experiences and organizational techniques.

Her straightforward way of presenting ideas and tips gained from her experience was the best!

You are a great writer and teacher!