Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Review—Christian Writers Guild Courses

Have you ever launched into a project, only to discover months later that you had done it all wrong?


Well, I have. And it was a novel-length fiasco.


When I completed the first draft of my novel—110,000 of the most amateurish writing every inked onto the page—I began searching for books on the craft of writing. I came across Writing for the Soul by Jerry B. Jenkins (which I reviewed here) and learned about the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

And guess what? The Christian Writers Guild offers classes.

Now, I’m all about going to a conference. Rubbing shoulders with writers, sitting across from faculty at supper and having your work critiqued in person. There’s no substitute for it.

But when I discovered the CWG courses, the chances of me going to a writers conference were about as good as my two year old getting that jetpack he’s been asking for. Sure, I’d written a novel, but I knew nothing about writing. And couldn’t justify asking my family to make sacrifices so I could learn.

But the Fiction that Sells course was doable. I had a real-life mentor, seven assignments and approximately four months to complete them. My mentor gave me my first taste of what it feels like to have someone (not your best friend or your mom) edit your work. Scary stuff!

But guess what? I survived.

She cut me no slack. She even went through half of one assignment, marking it up and commenting along the way, and then sent it back to me and told me to try again. She wasn’t being unkind. She was pushing me. Encouraging me to become a better writer.

When I completed the course, she gave me high marks and told me to get myself to a conference. And with her feedback and encouragement, going to a conference no longer seemed like a dream, but a possibility.

If you’re serious about writing—fiction or nonfiction—you must put yourself in a position to learn everything you can and to have your writing critiqued by others. If a conference is not an option due to finances or timing, consider a CWG course. You’ll be glad you did.

Writing Essentials (prerequisite)
Fiction that Sells (short course)
Articles that Sell (short course)
Building your Social Media Platform (short course)

Are you a CWG member or graduate? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
Don’t forget to join the conversation.

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. On her blog Out of the Boat she writes about faith and family while her blog Perpetual Motion documents the joys and challenges of loving and rearing a child with special needs. A graduate of Clemson University, Lynn lives in South Carolina where she writes, reads, knits, takes care of three amazing children, one fabulous man and one spoiled rotten Boston Terrier.
Follow Lynn on Twitter @lynnhblackburn


  1. Hi! I am a graduate of the Apprenticeship was the best thing I have ever done as far as advancing my skills as a writer. My mentor was terrific, she gave me sound advice and also pushed me to do my best work on each lesson. I just loved it!

    I live in Ohio so it is a bit pricey for me to go to the conference in February, but I sure wish I could! I went to a christian writer's conference (Faithwriters) a few weeks ago and it was tremendous and only a few hours away! I do recommend getting to a conference, any conference if you can...I came away inspired and also with more confidence in my abilities to actually get that book written!



  2. Great info, Lynn. And if we're honest, I think most of our first novel attempts are fiascoes. I know mine was!

  3. Great info and good encouragement to do what I've been thinking about for a while. Once I got more serious about the decision, my excuses got more plentiful. Thanks for the push. And the Writers Guild may be the perfect option. I'm going to check it out right after I paint our deck. Just kidding. Now!