Today we have a guest post from Pam Springer. It’s a Lutheran workshop review about her experience with the Lutheran writing workshop, Faith and Writing, held at Concordia Seminary. Thanks again Pam for letting us in on a little that happens! Maybe next year more of us can attend!
Faith and Writing Workshop Review
Concordia Seminary in St. Louis held a Faith and Writing Workshop from July 25 to July 27. I was able to attend all three days of the workshop. The cost of the workshop was $175, and you could stay in on campus housing for $30 per person or $45 for a couple, or find a hotel off campus. I chose the off campus option. This was my first writing workshop, and I feel it was very useful for writers of all levels, but especially for new or novice writers like myself.
There were only 15 participants and two instructors Peter Mead and Travis Scholl. Mead is an editor at Creative Communication for the Parish, and Scholl is manager of publications at the seminary and has written a book, Walking the Labyrinth. Many of the other students were pastors, but there were some layman and laywomen like myself as well. People came from all over the United States not just the St. Louis area. I was surprised how far many people came for the workshop. Additionally, we ranged in age from old to young and some had published works and some of us had not or just wanted to become better writers.
There was a wide range of experience and skill levels present. I would not be worried if you go and have very little experience. I did not feel intimidated or concerned about sharing my work with the group. I should say that I ended up sharing the results of the writing exercises rather than my original work. Other people shared their own work. Either way, we received helpful feedback.
What did we learn? We discussed what creativity is and how people create. Second, we went over basic grammar and dialogue rules and writing advice. For example, we discussed points of grammar such as the differences between active and passive voice. I found all this advice helpful. Throughout all this we were told again and again writers make choices about everything they write. We also had time at the end to recommend books or authors we enjoyed or had an impact on our writing and had one lunch together as a group.
We looked at writing and the Scriptures and did a couple writing exercises that used the Scriptures and types of writing in creative ways. In one exercise we had to write a dialogue between Bible figures and a modern person. I found this exercise to be the hardest and could not finish it. Overall I found all the exercises to be helpful and stretched my creative muscles.
There were also two presentations by guest presenters for the workshop. The two presentations were by Lisa Clark and Dale Ward. Lisa is the writer of The Messengers series from Concordia Publishing House. She talked about three questions that writers must answer about their work. These were why we write, what we are writing, who we are writing for. I found this to be incredibly helpful, as I am just starting out with my writing.
The second presentation was by Dale Ward. He is the seminary videographer. He talked about digital content and how everyone makes their own content now. Peter and Travis also talked about how to start a blog and recommended resources for this. Finally, my favorite part of the workshop was the trip to the St. Louis Art Museum. We had to select an artwork and write a story or poem about it. This exercise was just fun and creative.
So to sum up the workshop: I got a lot out of it. I found the exercises to be helpful and met a lot of interesting people. If a person is looking to learn about Faith and Writing, and get feedback, this workshop is something they should consider attending.
Pam, this is great to know. It sounds stimulating yet balanced with a little peaceful relaxation. A chance to write things a little differently and grow in the process. 🙂 Thanks again for your Lutheran workshop review!