Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Been There, Done That – April 2018

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In our "Been There, Done That" series, Literary Mama editors and readers share their experiences at conferences, workshops, classes, and residencies. This month, senior editor Amanda Jaros recalls her time at a Highlights Foundation workshop.

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What program did you attend?

Years ago I attended a Highlights Foundation workshop - Nuts and Bolts of Nature Writing. It was in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, at the Highlights Foundation campus.

How did you spend your time?

It was a 4-day workshop which included presentations by two picture book authors, an illustrator, and a scientist. We also had one-on-one consultation time with one of the authors. The scientist took us on nature journaling walks, we had group critique time with other participants, as well as quiet time to write. Homemade, high-quality meals were offered, and mealtimes were a great time to network.

What did you take away from the experience?

I learned a lot from my teacher and from the presentations. I also took away new friendships with other writers. I think mostly I found a new confidence in myself as a writer.

Did you have the opportunity for writing critique? Was it helpful?

It was incredibly helpful. This workshop was one of the first writing events I ever attended and I learned so much from my mentor/teacher. She went out of her way to offer good critique, as well as support and friendship. We also had group critique with other participants, which was helpful in many ways as well.

Would you attend this event again?

I would attend another of the numerous workshops that are offered. Highlights Foundation knows how to put on an event. A variety of workshops and residencies are offered throughout the year and more information can be found here. 

Share some helpful tips for a writer considering this experience. (Tips may include transportation, lodging, food, classes/instructors, or anything you think future attendees would benefit from knowing.)

The Foundation campus is in the woods, with sweet little cabins for each participant, a huge modern 'barn' for classes/events. They provide meals, drinks, snacks during off hours, and a gorgeous setting to work. The whole experience was so friendly, generous, and supportive. As a new writer entering the writing world, I felt wholly taken care of. I would recommend Highlights Foundation workshops to any writer. The workshops are a bit pricey, but scholarships are available. If you don't write for children, they also offer 'unworkshops' where you can pay for a cabin and food and use your time to work independently.

Have you attended a conference, workshop, residency, or class? We'd like to hear about your experience. Email us at lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com.


The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editors are Rudri Patel and Sharon Brandwein; read their bios here and here.


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