Essence 2023

During Essence 2023, SDI will feature a writer-in-residence for the duration of the conference. 

SDI favorite Tania Casselle, our conference Writer-In-Residence, will lead a two part workshop on all aspects of the writing process, from ideas, to writing techniques, and all the way through the publication process for spiritual directors and companions.   

Tania will also be available for 1:1 consultations throughout the conference. Signups for these consults are available now. Please log into Whova for details on the Community message board or keep your eyes open for an email with instructions. (For Essence In-Person and Virtual attendees only.)

Writing Workshops

Learn more about Tania’s workshops by clicking the titles below.


4:15 - 5:45 PM (90 minutes)

Tania Casselle

1:1 Consultations

Meet with me for a free 15-minute consultation! I would love to help you take the next step forward with your writing.  Bring any writing issues, from how to get started with writing or overcome a writing problem, to how to tackle a book project, find a publisher, or promote a self-published book.

I can also give feedback on one of the following materials and tips on how to refine, develop or position your writing project to give it the best chance of success.

I welcome either: 

You can email your piece to me in advance ([email protected]) so I can read it through before we meet, or bring it with you on the day.

Instructions on how to book a consultation coming soon — check back shortly.


For participants who have a book manuscript in process or the germ of a book idea

How to do it: Imagine that you find yourself in an elevator with the publishing editor or literary agent of your dreams. What would you tell them about your book project, in the time that it takes to travel 20 floors together? How will you hook their interest and convey the book idea succinctly so they ask to see the manuscript?

Your elevator pitch will be between 100 – 200 words. Absolutely no more – do a word count to check it! (This will take 30 – 60 seconds to speak – the time the elevator rides up those floors, before the editor steps out and is on their way…)

Write it as if you were describing your book / your story  to someone who doesn’t know the first thing about your subject. It will be pithy, concrete and specific, but will also convey your passion. (And your expertise, if relevant to the subject.)

Depending on the book, you might summarize: What journey does the book take us on? What is the story? What do we learn? What is the take-away for readers?

Remember to say what genre/form your project is – memoir, non-fiction, novel, etc.

Tania Casselle


Tania Casselle has been a writer and editor for 30 years, published in books, magazines, newspapers and online media in the US, Europe and Asia. Her nonfiction, fiction, poetry and radio work have been recognized in numerous awards and anthologies. A former magazine editor, she is now mainly a book doctor and developmental editor and is hired by publishers and agencies to help their authors write wonderful books! As a writing coach and teacher, she works with people individually and in online and in-person seminars. She helps writers on every level, teaching not just the craft and business of writing, but also exploring the deeper creative and spiritual impulse, helping writers free their natural writing voices and navigate internal blocks.

Tania is a former committee chair for the American Society of Journalists & Authors and a senior teacher and mentorship director for the Sage Institute online Meditation & Mindfulness Leader training program. She holds a Masters in Transpersonal Psychotherapy, follows a contemplative path in the Zen Buddhist and Christian mystic traditions, and is an alumnus of Fr. Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation. A Brit from London, Tania lives in New Mexico with her author and Zen teacher husband, Sean Murphy.

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