Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I got to thinking the other day about sitting on the fence. When I make an important decision, I think about it deeply. I go over all the angles. Sometimes, I'm still weighing the pros and con when I realize it's too late. I sat on the fence so long I missed my chance to make a choice.

Then I got to thinking about the people who have come to our Chautauqua writers' conference over the past twenty-three years. Many of them have told me they'd been thinking of coming for a long time. They'd been fence-sitting—wishing and dreaming, but bogged down in the pros and cons. Maybe the time investment was too much, or the cost seemed prohibitive. No matter why they'd been fence-sitting, when they finally decided to invest in themselves, they discovered that they'd made a choice that would change their writing lives forever.

I've met a lot of wonderful writers at Chautauqua. Some of the ones who chose to hop off the fence and join us are now familiar names: Kristi Holl, Sneed B. Collard III, Linda Oatman High, Lisa Moser, and Sharon Creech, to name just a few.

This week, I'm looking for ten people who need a push to get them off the fence. People who've been hungering to come to Chautauqua but let something hold them back. People whose writing careers are poised, waiting for a boost from our world-class faculty of children's writers, illustrators, and editors. People who would benefit from the inspiration and affirmation they can only get from fellow children's literature lovers.

Kent, how does all this relate to sitting on the fence? And what's this about ten free airline tickets? The other day, a longtime friend and supporter came up with a great offer: I will give you some of my airline miles for your writers workshop, and I'll get some friends to do the same. So, it's simple: Get off the fence this week and get a free roundtrip air ticket to the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua.

An airline ticket won't make coming to Chautauqua less of a time commitment. And it surely will not erase the fears or self-doubt that writers feel when making an investment in themselves.

But maybe it will bring you to join us July 12-19, 2008.


PS: If you don't know just how much Chautauqua might mean to your career, ask someone who can give you objective answers to your questions (that would not be me). I'll give you the names of some folks who have attended, and you can chat with them and see if this is your time to get off the fence.

The Highlights Foundation
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 253-1192
E-mail: contact@highlightsfoundation.org

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