Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday Review—Why Southwest Christian Writers Studio

I've had a lot of people ask me what makes this conference, beyond it's amazing setting at the Glorieta conference center in northern New Mexico, so special.
And I have a one word answer—craft.

This conference is all about improving your craft.

But aren’t they all? Well, yes…and no.

A lot of them have good instruction about craft, but few of them offer you the opportunity to practice. And they offer some serious temptation to get things out of order. Let me explain.

In this business it’s possible, even probable—depending on the subject matter, to get published while you’re still a new writer. But, and this is important, to make it in this business—to have any kind of longevity as a writer, you have to get better at writing.

And you’ll never do that pitching ideas to editors and agents. You have to spend time, put in the hours of practice, to become a craftsman. There is no substitute for slowing down, sitting at the feet of those who’ve become professional writers and learning.

Glorieta Conference Center Prayer Garden
Yes, you can learn from some great books out there, and you should. But in addition, it’s important to spend some actual time with writers who are ahead of you on the path. These folks know the ins and outs of the business. They’ve been there and can offer advice and wisdom about your specific journey. And that’s what Southwest has been designed to do.

This isn’t a series of 15 minute appointments, but a week long mentoring experience. But an old-fashioned time of hitting the keys (whether or not they’re on a modern keyboard) and there is no substitute for that.

We've taken five specific areas of writing, limited the overall size of the conference, and pulled in the experts. It’s set up for you to concentrate on two tracks, and stay with the same instructor all week. You have class time—and you have time to practice what you’re learning and get valuable feedback from the teachers. It’s an opportunity for in depth study and personal interaction with folks who are where you want to be.

So take a minute to visit our site and meet your mentors. At Southwest you won’t have a chance to pitch an agent or sell an article…but you will find the path to longevity, excellence and mastery.

What have been some of your experiences with writing conferences?  Do you have a favorite? Do you attend more than one a year? What do you look for?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. At my first conference, I spent most of my time in appointments with editors and agents. I didn't need writing classes. After all, I'd already written a bestseller, I just needed someone to sell it!

    Wrong. What I needed was to learn how to write it...and rewrite it...and rewrite it again.

    Craft is king!

  2. I've attended Writing for the Soul & ACFW & Susie May Warren's series of 3 writers retreats (Storycrafters, Deep Thinkers & Polish and Pitch). All well worth the time and money invested. One of the things I like about Susie's retreats is that they are smaller and provide more one-on-one attention and more time to write and apply what we are being taught. I've attended Deep Thinkers twice--and will go for a third time in 2012.

  3. Vonda, I believe that's what we all, secretly, think. You're just. Rave enough to admit it!
    Beth, I've attended one of Susie and Chip's Masters retreat and you're so right, she is AMAZING as an instructor! I'm budgeting for Deep Thinkers in 2012 as well!