Meet Freelance Writer, Columnist, and Writing Instructor Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson has been shortlisted several times for this year’s The Word Awards. She is an award-winning freelance writer, syndicated columnist, Facebook aficionado, and online instructor. Lisa is coordinating the Career Track at Write Canada. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to share with readers today, Lisa. Congratulations on your multiple nominations for The Word Awards.

Thanks! It’s a privilege to have your work recognized by your peers.

You are coordinating the brand new Career Track at the conference this year. What inspired you to do so? 

When I attended the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference three years ago, I saw how experienced writers took the time to answer questions, hang out and talk craft and industry. The newer writers hovered around these conversations, were invited to join the discussion, and soaked up as much knowledge as they possibly could. Many of those experienced writers came even though they weren’t teaching, and made themselves available for questions, to look over work, and to give advice. I wanted the experienced writers in Canada to have a chance to learn, network, and connect, but also offer newer writers the chance to get advice and take advantage of the experience of those further down the path.

What can attendees to these continuing classes and workshops expect? 

A career track isn’t new to Write! Canada, but it’s certainly been absent for a few years. We’ve built in many opportunities for networking and discussion, to learn from one another. The classes address issues of concern to career writers, the business behind the art so to speak. We’re pretty excited to get it going again and hope the connections that are made will last into the future.

Word has it that you are responsible for getting Ted Dekker to Write Canada this year. How did that come about? 

Responsible? Don’t know if I’d say that. It’s a long story. I interviewed Ted a few months ago and so had a connection I did my best to leverage. Others with a closer connection stepped in to help sway Ted’s decision. What’s exciting is that Ted rarely attends writers’ conferences—rarely leaves his ‘writing cave,’ so he’s making a rather large exception to attend Write! Canada. I’m really looking forward to connecting with him again and learning as much as he’s willing to share about the business and art of writing.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Write Canada?

I continue to attend Write! Canada because I’m able to line up probably 50% of my yearly freelance work at the conference just by connecting with editors and other writers. I’m also really looking forward to the learning in the career track and hearing Ted Dekker speak. 

Your writing endeavours are diverse. What word of advice would you give new writers who aren’t sure where to focus their energy?

Probably the same advice I was given six or seven years ago. Learn to write for magazines and newspapers even if novels or book-length, non-fiction is your ultimate goal. Those editors are always looking for new content and are usually willing to help out new writers. Plus, it’s a great way to get some experience, learn to write to a deadline, expand your network of contacts and sources, earn credibility with book editors and publishers—and getting your writing in front of the larger audiences frequently.

Interview by Steph Beth Nickel