Thursday, October 31, 2019

Toronto International Festival of Authors Blitz

Readers, Authors, Poets, Publishers, Editors, Agents, Family and friends... Book-lovers. There's one thing in common we all have, and that's the written word. Whether it comes as a poem or prose, a work of fiction or memoir, a biography or a quick romance, we all love to escape the world for just a moment while we dive into the words written on the page within the books we hold dear to ourselves, living yet another life in this literary atmosphere.

If you've been following my blog and social media pages since last year, you'll know that I was a Delegate for the Toronto International Festival of Authors and I wrote a Two-Part blitz blog post which you can find on my Blitz Page. Since then, I was asked to attend once again as a Delegate for the festival for their 40th Edition to help cover and promote the event, and of course share my own experiences and favourite events I've attended!

To give you a little more insight, The festival (Known as TIFA) is an eleven day event that's running this year from October 24th to November 3rd. There are events back to back with guest speakers, poetry slams, readings from the author's work, Q&A sessions, conversations and so much more! TIFA is bringing together many writers with readers for fun-filled panels while also getting many conversations going.

scared homer simpson GIFI'll admit that my very much introverted self tends to shy away from big events like this, just because I am so incredibly awkward... although that may come as a bit of a shock to some of you! The truth is, I love my fuzzy slippers and curling up with a book and a blanket as soon as my work day is done. This is the one big event of the year that I've done for the past two years, and I think it's safe to say I've cracked my shell a lot more. 

Of course having so many other amazing and kind Delegates this year makes me more at ease! That definitely hasn't stopped me from getting totally red as a tomato as I talk with some of the most inspiring authors after their panels!

I've been able to attend way more events this year for the 40th edition of TIFA, and I'll admit, it's been a great experience so far! Although there are still four days left including tonight's events, I'm going to say that my favourite panel of the event was the Harlequin at 70 featuring Stefanie London, Maggie K. Black and Molly Fader/O'Keefe. I think a part of the reason why this was my favourite was simply because Romance is in my veins. I read and write it, so naturally I have an interest in the genre. 

I love how each of the authors discussed their books, their writing style, phrases in the Romance industry like HEA (Happily Ever After) and so much more. They also brought a light to the notion that Romance books "Aren't" actually books, just because people assume there is so much that revolves around sex. There is so much more to Romance, and personally you can feel a deeper connection with the characters, because it's contemporary, and they are stories based on real-life experiences sometimes. Stefanie London said it best: 

"It's okay not to be perfect, you can still have amazing things in your life."

All three authors gave such great advice to aspiring authors in the audience such as the Toronto Romance Writers of America, contests you can enter to work with a mentor or Editor and get your book published. Since it's the 70th anniversary, they also discussed the changes in Harlequin Romance and how different they are now compared to when they first began.

Apart from that specific event, I have attended almost every panel since the 25th, and have listened to many of the authors read their own work was incredible!(Including Europe on Tour where authors from their country read their work in their language) Their thought process, ideas, motivation was very insightful to listen to.

Personally for myself I think that it would be amazing if the Festival brought a panel or two with Young Adult authors, and another Panel for aspiring writers, because I feel like a lot of younger generations are really getting into reading more (I mean I'm an adult and still read YA, so I would be so down to see some of those authors!) but also many young writers who are curious about the process. There is a TDSB Young Writers Conference, although it's only really open for the students of TDSB, so I think that it would be beneficial to have another panel for college students, or even adults who've been wanting to write for as long as they can remember! Mostly the YA Authors panel would be great, because I know a ton of other bookstagrammers and readers who've attended events where these authors are coming to Canada, and it gets PACKED, because that's a big portion of readers now a days!

Alright the last thing to end off this extravagant blog post today (because clearly I could talk forever about this awesome event!) is when I was meeting with a few of the authors or during the Q&A sessions, I've asked them all one thing.

Q: How do you stay motivated with your writing, to keep going even when it seems difficult?

Ashleigh Young: Be patient with yourself, and don't race with what others are doing or however far they are in their progress. Revise by ear and you'll feel the language.

Doyali Islam: Take your time and it'll come to you. Whenever I hear something I'll write it down organically. Trust your own process and it's a lot of trial and error.

Maggie K. Black: It's like going to the gym. Something we don't want to do, but as long as we push ourselves and do it, then the words will flow after the first fifteen minutes of "exercise". Joining Twitter groups and online writing chats keep you accountable, and help motivate each other.

Stefanie London: NaNo WriMo actually helped me write. You don't think about it, because you're only writing a little bit each day, but by the end of the month you've got a manuscript. Keeps you accountable and motivated to get to the end goal.

Molly Fader/O'Keefe: It is so hard. Honestly, you just have to keep writing. No matter what, just get up and do it every day, and then when you're not writing, you'll be wanting to write. It's like going to the gym...

Mona Awad: I really had to focus on the story because it wasn't anything like my last book. Sometimes you just have to push, and not think about the pressure of how the last book went.

Joanne Ramos: I read somewhere that something doesn't become a habit until you've done it for over thirty days straight. So that's what I did. I forced myself to get up and write every day for those thirty days and it really helped. You get scared, not knowing whether the book is going to do well, or if people will like it, but you just have to push those thoughts aside and just keep going every day. When I'm not writing, I go mad, because it's what I love to do.

Overall this festival has truly been amazing! Between the connections I've made with other Delegates, authors as well as everyone else that's attending the festival, I don't think I have anything else to really say except that you should come for the last few days while you can! There are still many more events until November 3rd and if you use the promo code LITLOCAL you can get a buy one get one free discount!

Honestly, this has been such an amazing experience again as a Delegate for TIFA, and I would so be happy to attend to many more! Congrats to 40 years and here's to another forty more! Don't forget that there are more events like this all year round, so be sure to check out their website HERE for more information! I hope to see you there! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone at TIFA for having me be part of such an amazing festival and amazing experience of bringing readers and authors together!!

So until the next time, Keep Reading!
Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)

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