RETREAT VS. CONFERENCE
I’ve been a huge fan of Christian writers conferences for many years, as an attendee, faculty member, and director. These events have helped many people learn how to write well and network with agents and acquisitions editors from publishing houses.
Check out this podcast where Thomas Umstattd Jr. interviewed Kathy Ide about why writers (and others in the writing and publishing industry) need a writing retreat: Why You Need a Writing Retreat with Kathy Ide.
These days, with so many virtual ways to learn and hone writing skills, and with so many people self-publishing, some Christian writers are more interested in connecting with God and their colleagues in the writing community than in taking workshops and scheduling appointments with industry professionals. They want to see old friends and start new friendships. And connect with God to hear His direction about the next steps He has for their writing journey.
Planning, Preparing, and Pouring Out
When you attend a writers conference as a registrant, you tend to spend a lot of time before the event poring over the faculty list and bios, thinking and praying over who you think you should try to connect with there. At the conference, you plan your schedule for which workshops to take, when to fit in appointments, and whose table to try to sit at for each meal. By the end, you’re elated at all the amazing things that happened. But you’re also exhausted.
If you attend a writers conference as a faculty member, you spend a lot of time before the event preparing your presentations—and considering whether you want to make plans to connect with certain attendees or fellow faculty members. At the conference, you pour yourself out, giving it your all, doing your best to be a blessing to everyone you come in contact with. You constantly keep an eye on your schedule to make sure you don’t miss any of your appointments or teaching sessions. You probably make it a point to connect with the conference director to let him or her know of your interest in being invited back. By the end of the event, you’re really glad you went … but your tank is empty, and it takes at least a week to recover!
With the Christian Writers Retreat at Mount Hermon, we want to help reduce your stress! All you have to plan for is getting here. And once you’re here, you can relax, take deep breaths of that prayer-soaked Mount Hermon air, and enjoy being in the presence of the God who loves you and the people who get you.
If you can afford to attend a writers conference, and you need the professional connections and in-person training it offers, by all means do so. But if you’re self-publishing, or you already have an agent or publisher or aren’t ready for that step, or you’re feeling overcommitted and stressed out, the Christian Writers Retreat at Mount Hermon may be just the blessing you need.