Seal of Approval

The following books have been awarded the Seal of Approval for the 4th quarter of 2022:

  • Bella’s Beautiful Miracle, Kimberly Novak
  • I Will Always Be Me, Kristina Schoettle
  • The Wistful and the Good, Mark Baker
  • Please Don’t Feed the Dinosaurs, Corinna Turner

From Our Blog

  • Why I Still Attend CWG Conferences After All These Years

    Jennifer Fitz
    December 4, 2022 - 6:00am
    Why I Still Attend CWG Conferences After All These Years

    About fifteen years ago, I attended my first online Catholic Writers Guild Conference. I saw a link and I figured: Why not check it out? It was a life-changing decision.

    Attending the CWG’s online conferences and getting involved as an active member of the Guild became the vehicle for my transition from anonymous mom-blogger to published author. I learned about the publishing industry, I improved my craft, and I began collaborating with other writers. After about five years of continuous work investing in myself as a writer, my first book was published.

    As an author, I’ve pretty much “arrived” now. My second book came out in 2020. I’ve been a conference speaker, I’ve done radio and podcasts, and most recently I got to record my conversion story for The Journey Home. I’m no longer in a place, professionally, where I need the Guild and its conferences for basic professional training and networking. And yet in 2022 I signed up to simply attend the CWCO as a student; even though I’m on the schedule to present in 2023, I’ll also be sitting in on workshops just to learn, same as anyone else.

    Why would I do that? Why would I give up a whole weekend (and either spend the money or work to pay my admission) in order to sit in on a handful of workshops – many of which I’ve already attended in the past?

    Of course part of it is to enjoy seeing people I’ve worked with over the years, even if we haven’t been in touch recently. But there are two major reasons attending CWG workshops remains a priority for me: I want to grow as a writer, and I want to grow as a Catholic writer.

    Riding The Continuing Education Spiral

    It has always been my goal to become as good of a writer as anyone else out there. I practice constantly, I read books about the craft, and I read other writers both within and beyond my genre. In addition to teaching writing when I get the chance, I’ve taken on some private fiction and non-fiction editing jobs for the sheer pleasure of critically assessing a piece of work and figuring out how to make it better.

    I’ve found that writing skill grows in a spiral. The first time through a given workshop topic, I’m just picking up the basic concepts. After a few years practicing that skill, a review of the topic allows me to fine-tune. Refreshers also force me to confront bad habits that have slipped into my writing and to question whether there are aspects of my style that are due for an upgrade.

    As with any other art, if I want to keep being the best writer I can be, I have to keep on training the fundamentals.

    Catholic Writing Is Its Own Mystery

    The other reason I attend CWG conferences is because there is nothing else like it.

    Longtime Catholic Writers Guild members have a few things in common:

    • They love Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith.
    • They are friendly people who are generous with their time.
    • They care about the profession of writing.
    • They are constantly questioning what it means to be a Catholic writer.

    I read secular authors for insight into the writing life and for skill-building. I’m likewise perfectly comfortable in ecumenical Christian environments.  But there is nothing like finding a group of Catholic writers who are sincerely and humbly seeking to be better Catholics.

    I keep coming back to the Catholic Writers Guild because it is one of the few places in the world, period, where I can learn from Catholic peers who are truly living the examined life.

    It’s Okay to Just Love Writing

    Finally, there’s a third, deeply personal reason I’ve been back at the CWCO: I want to learn writing skills that aren’t part of my career trajectory.

    Professionally, Catholic non-fiction is my gig. I’ve always been a fiction hobbyist, but I learned while working on my first book just how arduous and emotionally grueling publishing could be.  At that time I chose to safeguard fiction as my happy place – a protected writing outlet for when I just wanted to relax and unwind.

    I signed up for last year’s CWCO with a goal of eventually publishing some of that fiction; now, though, I’m not sure I’m ever going to accomplish that goal.  So what happens if my fiction stays something I write only for myself?

    What happens is that I’m still allowed to want those stories to be as good of stories as they can be.

    Thus I’d like to finish by encouraging you: It’s okay to just enjoy writing.  I highly recommend the CWCO as a way to grow professionally in your writing career, but the conference isn’t only for that. At this point in my life, I’m no longer looking to expand my professional horizons. But I still love to write. So I plan to be at the conference, sitting in workshops, for me.  Just because.

     

    Copyright – Jennifer Fitz 2022

The CWG Prayer

Holy Family, guide our minds, our hearts, our hands, as we write, speak, illustrate – help our words to live in union with the Word.

Teach us discipline and skill to use the talents God gives us.

Give us also insight and courage to convey God's love through our craft, and humility to be open to His divine will, shaping our lives, in loving loyalty to His Church.

In Christ's name,

Amen.

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