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Writer Development Program

The Austin Stone Institute’s Writer Development Program exists to train writers to create compelling work for the glory of God and the flourishing of people. If you love to write and want to work hard to hone your craft in a collaborative and supportive community, we invite you to apply for the Writer Development Program. Please note that in-person program applicants need to be local to Central Texas. If you’re outside the Austin area, our self-paced online program is the best option for you!

The Vision

Built by writers for writers, WriterDev offers training in a variety of genres. This approach essentially condenses a multi-year typical writing program into eight months. WriterDev focuses on the writer as a whole person, and you’ll regularly learn and practice application in theology, craft, and creativity. Along with “cross-training” in various writing genres, we cover topics related to the writing life, such as what it means to be a Christian who writes, the necessity of regular collaboration and critique, and keys for writing longevity and stewardship. If you love to write and want to learn to steward that gift well, we encourage you to apply!

Writing Matters

Writers influence culture and effect change through thoughtfully-crafted and compelling work. As writers who believe in Jesus, we have been given a calling through Christ—we can use our words to comfort the hurting, set free the captive, give sight to the blind, and proclaim the good news of our great God, no matter if we’re writing a Bible study or a short story. If that vision gets your heart beating a little faster or stirs up a story in your head, we invite you to apply to join our thriving writer community!

We're Not Looking For Expert Writers

We’re looking for people who:

Exhibit humility. WriterDev believes regular feedback is crucial for creating excellent work.

Pursue excellence. We are dedicated to growing, and strive for excellence, not perfection.

Desire collaborative experiences. You will work alongside other writers in group trainings and cohorts to grow your craft together.

Program Details

We built the Writer Development Program to help writers of any experience and skill level learn to steward their writing gift and grow in their creativity. Through practicing a variety of writing genres in a collaborative cohort environment, you’ll get equipped to write what is good, beautiful, and true in whatever context you’re called to. Time and location details for the 2023–2024 program year coming late-spring 2023.

Program Cost: $399

Program Length: September 2023 - April 2024

Program Style: Cohort-based

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve never really written before, but I want to learn to write. Is the Writer Development Program for me?

While we do ask all applicants to submit a 500-word writing sample, all skill levels are welcome to apply! Some basic knowledge of writing form and function will be helpful but isn't required.

Who do I contact with questions about the Writer Development Program?

Please email Lindsay Funkhouser with any specific questions not addressed on this page.

When will I receive a reply regarding my acceptance to the program?

You'll receive a confirmation email on receipt of your application. All applicants to the program will receive a final response regarding program acceptance by August 20, 2023.

Who should apply to the Writer Development Program?

The Writer Development Program is for adults over 18 years old. We strongly encourage applicants to have completed The Austin Stone Development Program or a similarly rigorous theological training program before participating in Writer Development, though it’s not required. Participants must commit to actively engaging in class and cohort discussions and to completing all assigned coursework. Participants must be local to the Austin area. If you’re interested but live outside Austin, please contact Lindsay Funkhouser.

When is the application deadline for the program?

Our next application deadline will be 11:59pm on June 15, 2023. Applications open March 1, 2023.

What does the program fee cover?

The program fee covers resources and costs associated with the program, such as facility rental, events, and curriculum. We never want finances to be an inhibitor of participation, so please contact Lindsay Funkhouser to discuss any concerns regarding the program fee.

Can you tell me more about the program structure?

The Writer Development Program is holistic in its approach. Regular rhythms include lecture-style teaching and interactive group sessions, individual assignments, and cohort critique. Be prepared to share your work with others and to give and receive feedback so that you can grow as a writer.

We'll also gather as a creative community at various times throughout the year for meetups with other writers and creatives, panels and writing-related discussions, meals, and events with the larger Austin creative community.

How is the online Writer Development program different than the in-person program?

The online program (WriterDev Foundations) is a 10-session, self-paced condensed version of our in-person program geared toward those who would be unable to participate otherwise.

Unlike the in-person Writer Development Program, WriterDev Foundations doesn’t have an application period and is available for anyone to purchase. It also allows for students to interact with one another and with course leaders and to share work. Once you’ve purchased the course, the content is yours to go through as you like.

Are there any opportunities for discounts or scholarships for the program?

In some cases, financial assistance is available. Participants interested in applying for a scholarship will be given an opportunity to complete a needs-based application upon the completion of the general program application.