I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writing Conferences or Writing Retreats: What's the Diff?

I'm very excited. No really. I am.

Today I leave for the airport hotel where I'll enjoy an evening with Handsome, my hubby. Thursday morning I'll get up early and catch a plane to Tampa where I'll be attending the MBT Deep Thinkers Writing Retreat.

"What's the difference between a conference and a retreat?" you ask.

My answer would be, "About 200 people."

At a conference, like Quad Cities Christian Writers' Conference or QCCWC, there will be approximately 200 people. There will also be several instructors, some mentors and perhaps an editor or two. You'll learn some amazing things there and interact with some great people. The instruction will be impeccable and the food, trust me on this one, will be outstanding. Even for a small conference you will find very little lacking, even compared to the larger conferences. (Larger conferences can run upwards of 600+ attendees.)

However, consider a retreat and you'll find a few distinctions.

The first distinction you'll find is that a retreat usually has about a dozen people attending. This gives you a chance to really get to know your fellow attendees. Great friendships have come out of such gatherings. The Ponderers for instance. The teaching is completely hands-on. At Deep Thinkers, 12 of us will have five days with authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. You'll not only get personal attention, but time to show off your work-in-progress (WIP). This is the place to get immediate feedback and help for those pesky questions that crop up.

The late-night brainstorming sessions also cannot be beat. I've learned far more at a retreat than I've ever learned at a conference, so I'm one of their biggest advocates. Give one near you a try.

Here are just a couple coming this year:

April 29-30, Location TBA

(Details and Registration TBA)


  1. I'll be seeing you soon, Ginger!
    I've been taught and encouraged at both conferences and retreats. But the intimacy and personal interaction with teachers at writers retreats is incomparable--not-to-be-beat! Retreats provide forward motion like larger conferences can't.

  2. I'm so excited to see you again, G! You know, I wanted to go to the Deep Thinkers retreat, but knew I couldn't do it with our financial situation. I resigned my heart to the fact I'd be home in the snow while my friends basked in the Sunshine State. Well, God had a different plan. His provision continues to amaze me. Every time I closed the door, he pushed it back open...not so fast, Lisa.

    I've learned so much from conferences, but retreats provide a more intimate atmosphere. My life changed forever when I attended the first Storycrafters retreat and met a group of women who became lifelong friends!

    Retreats afford a more relaxed atmosphere with individualized attention that can't be found at conferences.

    I believe both benefit writers in different ways.

  3. Never attended a retreat like that but it sounds inviting. I know how much work conferences are not that I am directing one! A retreat sounds a bit easier! Thanks for the links.

  4. Welcome, Jan!
    I visited your site. Looks like you've got a great conference planned.

  5. Ginger, I hadn't really thought about the diff between a conference and a retreat. I'm thrilled to know that I've been privileged to attend almost two retreats. No conferences yet. :) I'm so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

  6. Nice distinctions. So glad you can come, & love your relationship with "Handsome," that warms us all. Thanks, safe travels, & see you soon!

  7. I love conferences, I love retreats! Most of all, I love any chance to hang out with writers...:) See ya soon, Ginger!!

  8. You know, I wrote this post late one night and after rereading what I said, I should not have made conferences sound so bad. Let me set the record straight:

    I LOVE CONFERENCES! I learn a lot and make wonderful contacts there. I definitely recommend them. However, if you have just a bit of money and must chose, I probably would go for a Susan May Warren Writers' Retreat :)

    Go to both though.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    BTW Beth, Thanks ;) You're wonderful.

    Can't wait to see the rest of you Friday!

  9. Jan,

    Looks like you have a nice conference scheduled. Blessings on it. Let us know how it goes :)

  10. Jan! I thought that was you. (We've not met, but we've emailed.) I am so excited about the Inland Northwest Christian Writer's Conference, and I am planning to be in attendance. Actually, I can't wait! I was just going to tell my fellow Ponderers about this conference, partially because Jim Rubart is the keynote speaker, and partially because I wanted to be in Florida with them and can't. It is so hard for me to have to stay home from the Deep Thinker retreat, especially since I had to miss the ACFW conference in September, but it is made bearable by the fact that I will be able to attend a great conference (the first one for INCW, if I'm not mistaken) right here in my own town!(no airfare + no lodging = Heidi gets to go!!) Anyway, I'm looking forward to both the conference and meeting you in person! See you in just a few weeks!

  11. Ginger~ awesome post! I was just explaining this to someone else the other day. I'm so glad you get to be at Deep Thinkers this year...we missed you so much last year, and @ Pitch/Polish as well. In fact, now that I think about it, I haven't seen you in over a year!! =(

    And I know I've said this at least a thousand times, but you will all need to give each other and Susie, and Rachel, big hugs from me.

    Lisa~ I am so happy that God wouldn't let you miss it. His provision (even when it the kind that says "No, you will be staying home") is always perfect! Father really DOES know best!

  12. I am looking forward to when I can attend either a conference or a retreat. Praying for all those traveling to Florida this weekend. Enjoy!

  13. I've attended writers' conferences, but have not had the privilege of attending a writers' retreat...yet.
    Perhaps someday!

    And I left the Ponderers a blog award here: