UNCO 14: writing as a spiritual practice

Mindi convened a session at UNCO 14 on writing as a spiritual practice, and as a way to make money. Participants in this session included several bloggers, a novelist or two, and nonfiction writers writing about contemporary religion. We talked a bit about the mechanics of the publishing world, and the pleasures of writing, but what interested me most was to hear about the writing projects people were working on or contemplating.

And I felt the most interesting writing project anyone described was a memoir by an unchurched young adult who became a progressive Christian. We hear too much from people who leave organized religion (usually in a huff), and from people who convert (often loudly and spectacularly) to conservative Christianity — it’s about time we heard from a None who became a religious progressive.

We also talked about how to make money writing. Carol said one editor told her that since 2008, books sell about half as many copies and make about half as much money as they used to make. Beyond books, no one seemed to have a good plan for monetizing a blog. There was quite a bit of talk about niche markets, and how to reach them. One final tip from this workshop: Mindi said that many agents use the Twitter hastag #mswl to request manuscripts on specific topics.

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