Monday, August 21, 2017

Whole Novel Workshop Magic

I just returned from attending the Whole Novel Workshop at Highlights and I can truly say that attending was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my writing. There aren’t enough exclamation points to express how wonderful my trip was…though I’ll probably use a lot trying to describe it!

Cabin 14

Inside: so adorable!!

Of course, this is Highlights and if you’ve been there before (or have heard someone talk about it) then you know that I could easily fill a blog post (or five) with exuberant descriptions of the cabins, forests, and food. (The FOOD!!!) And all of that was just as mind-blowingly fabulous as the last time I was at Highlights in 2013. But what makes this place so magical goes far beyond any of that.

It is the people.

They are the magic.

My mentor, Nancy Werlin, was incredible. She believed in me and in my book, but she also challenged me to make it better. She pushed me to think more deeply about my characters and asked questions that I never would have thought to ask myself. Although revision can be difficult, I knew I was in safe hands. Nancy loves my main character, and hearing her talk so exuberantly about Ellie made me love my character more than I had already. It also encouraged me to keep going!

Nancy and I the last morning (and YES, I am wearing my magical fairy writing crown!)

All of the faculty were out-of-bounds amazing. I loved listening to their lectures and getting inspired to take their suggestions and apply them to my book. Each person gave their time and expertise to help us. It was clear how much they want us all to succeed. 

The other attendees were equally wonderful. People always say that it’s hard to make new friends as an adult, but that does not apply to Highlights! In just a week I made friendships that I know will extend for years to come. Maybe it’s because we’ve all reverted back to our childhood summer camp selves, except we’re surrounding by people with the same passions and interests as us! J

Debbi and I celebrating our 3 year friendship anniversary in person!

Debbi, Carol, and I--one of my favorite photos!

Dale, Christie, John posing with me

Three Ohioans and one (grumpy) Michigan fan! LOL!


All of these people gave me one of the most precious gifts a writer can receive: self-confidence. The ups and downs of this journey can take a toll. It’s easy to feel small and trampled. But having others believe in me reminded me to believe in myself.

 And that is the magic of Highlights.

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