Being at Lake Forest in 2010 really reinvigorated the passion I had for writing, and today I still use what I learned when my work seems difficult or uninspired.
–Dana Schwartz, author of the YA novel And We’re Off
It was such a fulfilling experience as a writer to be surrounded by so many people I have things in common with. I didn’t really know what I was looking for when I applied for the workshop, but after those two weeks, whatever it was that my subconscious was seeking, I found it.
My experience was greatly influenced by the staff members and workshop leaders. Their friendliness and passion for writing were some of what I loved most about the program.
—Alexandra S., 2017
Without this workshop, I wouldn’t have been able to get past my writer’s block and rediscover how much I love to write.
—Workshop participant, 2013
More than ever, I realized that I am in my element when writing and thinking like this and I absolutely want to continue with it. I have been challenged to be more creative and try new approaches, which opened up new ideas for me as well. As a person, I have gained confidence and wisdom from the community. I feel I am a better listener now. I am more in tune with my true self, and this allows me to relate to others more openly.
—Workshop participant, 2010
I have never felt so confident in my writing as I do now. Before I could not speak in front of people and hated hearing my work read aloud.
—Workshop participant, 2005
I think I have finally identified my voice, what makes me unique in my writing. I’ve learned a myriad of new ways to write, including several I had never encountered but worked quite well for me. I wrote several pieces I was proud of, but that wasn’t the point—it was that I learned the technique to create more like them. As a person, I got to express my more sensitive side without fear of being judged, something I would never do at home and school but that I felt comfortable to do in this wonderful community.
—Workshop participant, 2012
Being in this workshop surrounded by other writers really helped me come out of my shell and be confident about my writing.
—Workshop participant, 2003
I think writing and I were having some marriage problems, but Writing and Thinking Workshop was a great marriage counselor.
— Workshop participant, 2011
The Workshop was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. A perfect setting for our quiet, introverted, not thrilled to meet new people and be in unfamiliar places, passionate, deep thinking, kind-hearted writer. I am wowed by the writing she is sharing with us now that she’s back at home. You created a perfect environment to let the words flow out of her. She made amazing friends; everyone was so welcoming and so much like her. You did it all right. Five-star rating from start to finish!!!
I commend you for keeping bright kids involved in their writing tasks, while still having so much fun and camaraderie.
My daughter, though a dedicated writer, was initially a bit hesitant about spending some of her summer in a Writing and Thinking Workshop. She was concerned about being away from friends and thought that it might be too academic for the summer. Since the program information promised some field trips and she was interested in meeting other writers, she eventually decided to attend. She returned home enthusiastic about the experience, more confident in her abilities, and very grateful that she had made the decision to go. She learned that other young people are “deep thinkers” and that “there are some really talented kids out there.” Rather than finding this intimidating or discouraging, the collaborative nature of the workshop experience inspired her and she solidified her own writer’s identity.
My son participated in your Writing and Thinking Workshop last summer. The outcome is marvelous. Now he easily writes essays and poetry. He is very creative, and now this creativity flows with grace. You have provided a valuable service by inspiring him to participate more fully in life.
Lake Forest College’s Writing and Thinking Workshop was a breath of fresh air for my daughter at the end of her 11th grade year. The nonjudgmental approach allowed her to explore her creative skills in a totally new way. She found the exercises continually challenging and stimulating. She is now clear about her passion for writing. We also found the staff of the Workshop to be fantastic–encouraging, skillful, and sensitive. Thank you for this special gift you offered.
A former workshop participant and residential mentor reads one of his poems
When your pen places
its tip to paper
aligning to the blue lines
in perfect horizontal sentences
or jagged stairs—like in poetry
Beauty is born
minds are revised, redrafted, & saved
Cities and towns
are receiving new light as they
sing your praise
Your words are
hope ingrained in their bosom
You become a god
creating these words
Your pen breathes them
and they become living souls
restoring empty minds whole again
No matter the style or pattern
someone is loving life
becoming more alive with
Never stop writing
because as a writer
it becomes a rite of passage
for everyone around you
Their heart says “thank you”
with each beat
Writing and Thinking Workshop