Monday March 7, 2022

Breakout Seminars A – 11:00 AM

  • “Marketing as a Spiritual Practice” with Kate Rademacher and Brian Allain
    • The Christian path – as exemplified by Jesus – is to embrace a life of downward mobility. As we seek to share our work with the world, we must never turn our back on Jesus’ most fundamental call to servanthood. Yet if we seek to increase our “discoverability” and build robust platforms, do we inevitably slip into self-aggrandizement, competitiveness, stress, and fear? How do we stay true to our deepest values and intentions as we seek to market our work and increase our impact?  This session will offer both a conceptual model and practical tools for how to approach marketing as a spiritual practice. You will learn that building a “platform” is not about cutesy, self-promotional tactics. Rather, you will gain concrete strategies to find and use your authentic voice, identify and meet the needs of your target audiences, and serve more people while staying grounded in practices like contemplative prayer, discernment, humility, stewardship, trust, and mutual ministry.
  • Literary agent Jevon Bolden
  • Luther Smith
    • “What About Justice?”  – Writing about the spiritual life entails crucial insights regarding the hunger of the heart, religious experiences, discernment, companionship, pilgrimage, and persistent personal challenges.  The necessity for justice is often ignored or mentioned only as an implication among authors who endeavor to present a holistic spirituality.  Seminar participants will be engaged in discussions guided by the questions:  How is justice crucial to spiritual formation?  Whether a social activist or not, how does a writer cultivate her/his authentic voice in writing about justice?  How can writers avoid being dismissed as political partisans?  When envisioning readers (those welcoming justice themes and those resisting them), how might the writing endeavor to be inspiring and transformative for all readers?
  • Carl McColman
    • “Writing as a Contemplative Practice” – William Faulkner is supposed to have said he only wrote when he was inspired, but that inspiration came every morning at 9 AM. Beneath this clever bon mot is an important principle for any professional (or aspiring) writer: discipline is the path to freedom. But how do we rein in the mercurial and unpredictable nature of artistic creativity to establish a stable, daily routine of practical productivity? The answer to that question just might come from an unlikely source: the monks and mystics of the Christian contemplative tradition. This presentation will look at the culture that gave birth to some of the great spiritual writers of the last 1500 years, and consider how to apply the “wisdom of the cloister” to the writer’s life today.

Breakout Seminars B – 2:45 PM

  • Kate Rademacher
    • “Being Bi-Vocational: How to Honor Your Passion for Writing with Your Other Calling(s)” – God calls many of us to more than one vocation. If one of your callings is to write, how do you honor that along with other parts of your life? This question has both practical implications (e.g., How will you find time for it all? How will you earn your living?) as well as spiritual dimensions (e.g., How do your vocations interact and ‘speak’ to one another?) Being bi-vocational also impacts the types of “platforms” we create as writers. If you have more than one vocation, how do you communicate about the various aspects of your life, including on social media? During this session, we will explore practical considerations including strategies to manage your time and craft your message. Participants will also engage in dialogue with one another about how we can discern and honor where God is calling us next.
  • Literary agent Rachelle Gardner
    • Authors & Agents: Inside this Important Partnership – Do all writers need agents? This workshop begins by discussing who needs an agent and why. You’ll learn how to decide whether you need an agent, how to research literary agents, and how to determine the right agent for you. We’ll discuss what to expect from an agent and what not to expect. Finally, we’ll talk about how to do your part in building and maintaining a successful long-term relationship with an agent. This workshop will dispel the mystique surrounding agents (no – we are not all sharks!) and help you make the best decision for your writing career.

  • Danté Stewart
    • “Writing Blackness: A Conversation with Danté Stewart on Theology and Memoir”
  • TBA

Small Group Meetings – 4:00-6:00 – feel free to come and go to any of these

Tuesday March 8, 2022

Breakout Seminars C – 9:45 AM

  • “Marketing as a Spiritual Practice” with Kate Rademacher and Brian Allain
    • The Christian path – as exemplified by Jesus – is to embrace a life of downward mobility. As we seek to share our work with the world, we must never turn our back on Jesus’ most fundamental call to servanthood. Yet if we seek to increase our “discoverability” and build robust platforms, do we inevitably slip into self-aggrandizement, competitiveness, stress, and fear? How do we stay true to our deepest values and intentions as we seek to market our work and increase our impact?  This session will offer both a conceptual model and practical tools for how to approach marketing as a spiritual practice. You will learn that building a “platform” is not about cutesy, self-promotional tactics. Rather, you will gain concrete strategies to find and use your authentic voice, identify and meet the needs of your target audiences, and serve more people while staying grounded in practices like contemplative prayer, discernment, humility, stewardship, trust, and mutual ministry.
  • Literary agent Rachelle Gardner
    • Book Proposals that Sell – Your book proposal is the tool that sells your book—first to an agent, then to a publisher. What makes a strong proposal? Why do we need proposals? We’ll look at all the elements and dissect how to create a proposal that will make a publisher want to BUY.
  • Luther Smith
    • “What About Justice?”  – Writing about the spiritual life entails crucial insights regarding the hunger of the heart, religious experiences, discernment, companionship, pilgrimage, and persistent personal challenges.  The necessity for justice is often ignored or mentioned only as an implication among authors who endeavor to present a holistic spirituality.  Seminar participants will be engaged in discussions guided by the questions:  How is justice crucial to spiritual formation?  Whether a social activist or not, how does a writer cultivate her/his authentic voice in writing about justice?  How can writers avoid being dismissed as political partisans?  When envisioning readers (those welcoming justice themes and those resisting them), how might the writing endeavor to be inspiring and transformative for all readers?
  • TBA

Breakout Seminars D – 1:45 PM

  • Kate Rademacher
    • “Being Bi-Vocational: How to Honor Your Passion for Writing with Your Other Calling(s)” – God calls many of us to more than one vocation. If one of your callings is to write, how do you honor that along with other parts of your life? This question has both practical implications (e.g., How will you find time for it all? How will you earn your living?) as well as spiritual dimensions (e.g., How do your vocations interact and ‘speak’ to one another?) Being bi-vocational also impacts the types of “platforms” we create as writers. If you have more than one vocation, how do you communicate about the various aspects of your life, including on social media? During this session, we will explore practical considerations including strategies to manage your time and craft your message. Participants will also engage in dialogue with one another about how we can discern and honor where God is calling us next.
  • Literary agent Jevon Bolden
  • Danté Stewart
    • “Writing Blackness: A Conversation with Danté Stewart on Theology and Memoir”
  • Carl McColman
    • “Writing as a Contemplative Practice” – William Faulkner is supposed to have said he only wrote when he was inspired, but that inspiration came every morning at 9 AM. Beneath this clever bon mot is an important principle for any professional (or aspiring) writer: discipline is the path to freedom. But how do we rein in the mercurial and unpredictable nature of artistic creativity to establish a stable, daily routine of practical productivity? The answer to that question just might come from an unlikely source: the monks and mystics of the Christian contemplative tradition. This presentation will look at the culture that gave birth to some of the great spiritual writers of the last 1500 years, and consider how to apply the “wisdom of the cloister” to the writer’s life today.

Book Readings – 4:15 PM

Small Group Meetings – 5:00 – 6:00 – feel free to come and go to any of these

Wednesday March 9, 2022

Optional post-conference seminar “The Business of Being a Spiritual Writer” (separate registration required)

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All information subject to change.