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How to judge writing retreats

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Hello all! My name is Dave Daily and I'm relatively new to SCBWI. I attend the MN chapter critique groups. I do have one specific question and this may be covered in another thread, so if so please let me know! I'd like to attend a retreat, but there are so many, I'm wondering which you have found most valuable? I've looked at the Highlights Foundation and love their descriptions, but I haven't spoken with anyone who has attended. In other words, my question is...if I'm going to spend $1,000-$1,500 on a retreat or conference, what would you recommend? :) Thanks!
#1 - May 05, 2017, 09:54 AM

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:welcome David. Writing retreats are wonderful. If you have the $$$ to splurge on the Highlights Foundation ones, you wouldn't go wrong. I've attended two, a very general one over 10 yrs ago when it was at Chautauqua and more recently at Boyds Mills, a focused one on religious writing. I rec'd scholarships for both but getting there was still expense. You can read about them: http://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/search/label/Highlights  scroll down to get past the interview.

When I was a beginner though, I went to my local SCBWI monthly talks, and they were gold. For the price of $25/yr (for the monthly chapter) I received a very focused education on children's writing as well as made friends in the community. Not all regions are as active as the one I began in (Western WA) but it was definitely the best bang for the buck. I also went to their annual conference where they invited several editors and agents. These conferences were not exactly retreats -- there's a lot to learn and absorb and there's not much downtime. Retreats, on the other hand, have built-in writing time. You are literally retreating from your normal responsibilities to focus on writing. And Highlights knows how to do this very, very well. You are fed, watered and cared for and there are numerous workshops to choose from depending on where you're at and what your interests are.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.  Vijaya
#2 - May 05, 2017, 10:50 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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The Highlights workshops are the best of the best, in my opinion.  If you do a search on this board for Highlights workshops you'll find several threads about the topic.  I attended a whole novel retreat several years ago and consider it one of the smartest choices I ever made for my career.
#3 - May 06, 2017, 03:36 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Booth Brothers: Drama, Fame & the Death of Lincoln
Capstone: September 1, 2017

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I've been to several Highlights workshops, and they've all been great.

Vijaya, you probably don't remember, but we met way back when at that Highlights Chautauqua workshop. We were both interest in science-related writing. You were further along on your writing journey, and I was so impressed.
#4 - May 07, 2017, 05:53 AM
Laurie Wallmark
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Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
(Creston 2015)

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Laurie, I do remember you!!! And Mary Ann, Deborah, and others. Padma was my roommate so we spent a lot of time together. And it's funny but I remember being impressed with everybody else too!!!

David, one thing you'll discover is that you'll make some lifelong friends. And the BB has been instrumental in getting us all together. Many friendships have been cultivated right here.
#5 - May 07, 2017, 08:23 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I'm already encouraged by the warmth and support!!
#6 - May 08, 2017, 07:21 AM

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