“I never really know what I think about anything unless I’ve written about it. So although I sometimes sort through happenings in my spiritual life in conversation, I more often sort through them on paper. In my book, Still, for example, I have a chapter examining my coming to a place in life where I couldn’t or wouldn’t pray. I didn’t really understand why that had happened—why I had stopped praying—until I had written about it and rewritten. I came into real understanding well after 10 drafts of that chapter. Similarly, I never get very far with Scripture if I’m just reading it or hearing it read aloud. I get further if I am writing about a passage of Scripture.”
In this workshop, we will explore the genre of spiritual writing at the level of craft and technique, as well as inspiration and publication. We will examine the question of what makes for compelling spiritual writing—writing that opens up the ordinary, yet sometimes dramatic tensions between spiritual faith and human life. We will ask questions such as: How do I write about spirituality without preaching or falling into dogma? How do I share stories that lift people up? How do my words deepen beliefs or offer guidance? How do I help people pray or give them peace? How do I tap into topics that make delightful connections? How do I help readers wrestle with God?
We will meet at least six times as a group to workshop one another’s prose, discuss sterling examples of spiritual writing, and explore writing exercises designed to improve craft. We will also reserve large chunks of the day for writing, so come with a project or two that you want to start, revise, rethink, play with, or polish. Additionally, each participant will have a one-on-one meeting with Lauren to discuss, well, whatever you’d like to discuss.
The Collegeville Institute will cover travel expenses to and from the workshop, all workshop fees, and room and board. Those who join the workshop will be expected to reside at the Collegeville Institute throughout the entire week. Participants may share apartment space, though each person will be assigned a private bedroom. The program is limited to 12 participants.
Lauren is fantastic. She’s wise. Her tips were very helpful. Her craft advice was great. Her organization was great.
—participant in “Women Writing: A Week with Lauren Winner,” Summer 2015
The application deadline for this workshop has passed.