I love to sharing my writing experiences with aspiring authors to help them on their journey to publishing. Writing tips are so valuable to me and I hope these writing resources are useful to some of you.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about an amazing experience that I had almost ten years ago. I want to tell you more about my opportunity to attend a great adventure in learning–nine days in Chautauqua, New York at the Highlights Workshop for Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Check out this link to find out more about the conference.
There were 97 students in attendance from all over the United States and also places as far as Hong Kong, Spain, Uganda, and Guam. The staff was amazing and there were so many wonderful authors, editors, publishers, etc. that students had a chance to sit and talk with the staff and ask as many questions as we wanted during our meals, around classes, and other activities.
For one full week, I was entrenched in a professional and FUN experience where I could take classes in nearly every realm of writing, from characterization to voice to writing for children’s magazines. I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time and I went to New York, where it is HUMID–very, very humid, especially in July. A little crazy, I know, but that is how much I wanted to attend this conference. I even stayed in a place with no air-conditioning! I am definitely dedicated to this writing thing!
I met a great crowd of talented authors. My mentor was Sandy Asher and she gave me some wonderful feedback on the chapter I submitted for critique. I was also lucky enough to speak with the Newbery Medal winner, Jerry Spinelli, and he gave me some wonderful advice on the middle-grade reader I was working on. Here’s a picture of me with Jerry & Eileen Spinelli.
I mentioned before that I received a scholarship that enabled me to attend this conference. I want to mention this again to encourage those of you who might be salivating over this conference the same way I used to. I still had to pay for my airfare and lodging, so if you want to go, you’ll need to save, but without the scholarship there’s no way I could’ve attended. I talked with several other students who also received scholarships and we learned where a good chunk of that scholarship money comes from one night.
After dinner at the golf course, there was an auction with all kinds of wonderful items: books, paintings, bags, hand-knit shawls, jewelry. Most of these items were donated by other authors and members of the staff. The items went for generous amounts and the money goes towards funding the next year’s scholarships.
The highlight of my evening was when my own book went up for auction! I donated a copy of Wrong Number and renowned children’s author, Eileen Spinelli, won the bid at $50.00!!!
My week in Chautauqua was unbelievable. I missed my family a lot–I had never been away from my kids that long and it made for some lump-swallowing when I talked to them on the phone and they told me how much they missed me. That event was a chance in a lifetime experience for me. I would like to leave you with a few nuggets of inspiration passed on from the staff at the Highlights Writers Workshop:
- Don’t ever give up!
- The worst thing you can do is leave a finished manuscript in the drawer.
- Take advantage of every opportunity, every open door.
- Stay true to yourself–your goals–your dreams.
- Write, write, write!
Visit Rachelle’s For Writers Page to find more resources HERE
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