Before I turned onto the gravelly driveway and spotted The Barn, before I wound my way down those back country roads for the last few miles, before I packed my books and manuscripts and pens and notebooks, I was filled with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to make my way to the Highlights Foundation for another outstanding workshop.
I’ve been to Highlights for workshops, unworkshops, and EPA SCBWI Conferences. Nine times, to be exact. Each experience is a little different, yet has commonalities. There is always wonderful food, comfortable accommodations and surroundings, and the opportunity to meet new colleagues. Perhaps most importantly, there is an energy that is almost tangible – a creative spirit that swirls and twirls and magically abounds. (You can read about a couple of my experiences here and here).
Last week I attended “The Ins and Outs of a Picture Book and Its Many Forms” with Bethany Hegedus, Carmen Oliver, and Salina Yoon. I learned about creating compelling characters and scenes, new structures, picture book biographies, the important work of revision, and much, much more. These three outstanding workshop leaders delivered fresh, new ideas to my ever-expanding knowledge of writing for children. I came away with a wealth of resources and new-found friends, and most importantly, a little bit more confidence in my work as a writer.
I feel so fortunate that I am able to take advantage of what the Highlights Foundation has to offer writers in all stages of their journey. And while I understand that not everyone has this opportunity, I do believe writers can create their own energy and magic. I’ve found it in the critique groups I work with and the authors I read who serve as mentors. It’s in the sharing of our creative spirit as writers, teachers, and students that confidence grows and success is born.