by Kari Allen
This spring, I drove down to South Carolina with my family. It took about 15 hours. Which was still less than the amount of time I spent driving down to the Writers’ Loft for a six-week course that I finished in April.
I have attended a bunch of Saturday workshops and craft chats at the Loft in the past, but I had never committed to a longer course. I always talked myself out if it; it always seemed like it was too much time and effort. Time that I didn’t have or couldn’t allow myself to have. Coming from central New Hampshire, it would mean hours and hours in the car, not to mention arranging childcare and figuring out my family’s schedule. But this past March, I decided to sign up for a multi-week course and gave myself one of the best gifts I could ever have as a writer.
I discovered that my long trips gave me time. Time to listen to podcasts about writing and creativity and children’s literature. The long trip gave me time to process everything that had been discussed during class. It allowed things to sink in and percolate. I wasn’t home in ten minutes to be thrown back into life and laundry.
I could think about my works in progress and apply all the things we talked about in class. I could think about a line (and picture book writers know what I’m talking about) for ten miles, and then ten miles later, finally figure out the perfect place for a comma.
And even though I still don’t know exactly where Sherborn is, because every week Google Maps directed me to the Loft in a different way in hopes of avoiding rush-hour traffic, it was more than worth the trip. My advice to anyone who is on the fence about taking a multi-week course is to plug the Loft into your GPS and navigate your way there. On your way home, take the long route or a wrong turn. Drive an extra mile or two. Give yourself a few more minutes.
When not driving to the Loft, Kari Allen writes picture books and early readers. Before being a stay-at-home mom to two book-loving boys, Kari taught second grade. She works with the National Writing Project in New Hampshire doing staff development for teachers and teaching graduate courses on writing. Every summer, she gets to teach a writing camp to young writers! As member of SCBWI, Kari loves meeting new writing friends at conferences and retreats. She has reviewed books for the Horn Book Guide. A lover of photography, her camera is never too far away. https://www.kariallenwrites.com