Two weekends ago, Paula Morrow and I taught at the Highlights Foundation “Barn” on the subject of “Sharing Our Hope: Writing for Religious and Inspirational Markets.” It was a weekend to remember.
(If you want to skip down to the photos, below are eleven more photos I thought you might enjoy seeing of the grounds and the people who attended. I took most of them, but some were taken by Paula or Vijaya Bodach.) Five additional blog posts with photos by attendee Vijaya Bodach can be found here. And Deanna Barnes wrote about her experience here.
Why a Workshop on Writing with Hope?
Growing up today is tough. Many kids live in homes where their needs don’t get met. Sometimes they don’t feel safe either at home or at school—places we used to take for granted as “safe havens.” It has become a scary, unsettling world for children.
As author Barbara Steiner once said, “Writing for children is the toughest of all writing because children’s books change lives… Kids take stories to heart, believe them, and reread them if they have touched their spirits.”
One of the best things writers can give children through their writing is a sense of hope. Madeleine L’Engle, Newbery Award winner, once said:
“We don’t want to feel LESS when we have finished a book; we want to feel that new possibilities of being have been opened to us. We don’t want to close a book with a sense that life is totally unfair and that there is no light in the darkness; we want to feel that we have been given illumination.”
My part of the workshop included 4 sessions about:
- learning how to write strong characters who are believable and multifaceted, yet flawed enough for kids to identify with;
- self-care for writers, which included sessions on being your own self-coach, boundaries for writers, and dealing with serious things (health issues, marriage issues, child issues, money issues) while continuing to write;
- learning how to infuse tension into your characters, plot, settings, and dialogue;
- exploring inspirational market guides, plus books especially for inspirational writers
Everyone stays in his/her own cabin, at least when the workshops are limited to small numbers. Below are a couple of shots of my cabin…then some food photos…then a few pictures of the wonderful group of women who attended the workshop. Enjoy!