Many Highlights Foundation workshops include a submission or critique opportunity, where attendees can submit their work in advance of the workshop to their faculty and/or peers for feedback during the course.
The feedback process and structure looks different for every workshop. (You can find more information about your specific workshop’s details in our workshop descriptions [under Feedback Expected], and you can get more information about how the Highlights Foundation approaches feedback and critique here.)
But even though our feedback options are usually pretty flexible, we get the following questions a lot:
What if I don’t have a manuscript or work to submit?
What if I am not ready for feedback?
The Short Answer
The short answer is: That’s Okay!!
While the Highlights Foundation believes that feedback is an important part of a creative’s journey, it may or may not be right for you at this time. In many cases, you can choose to opt out of feedback sessions/opportunities as you wish, or as it suits your needs. Sometimes, alternate consultation opportunities might be available.
You can check ahead of time with our team if you’d like more information about how your experience might be impacted by opting out of and/or modifying a feedback opportunity. You should also include details in your Registration Notes about how you’d like to approach the feedback opportunities in any given workshop, and we’ll contact you if there is an issue.
The Longer Answer
The longer answer: That’s usually okay!! But let us help you with some considerations.
While we can generally be flexible about submission opportunities for most workshops, here are some things to consider.
1. Our Whole Novel Workshops are Probably the Only True Exception.
Some Highlights Foundation courses have more feedback built-in than others. The best and most specific example is The Whole Novel Workshop.
In this case, the workshop is built around a deep dive into/reviews of your novel draft. A faculty member reads your entire novel, and provides detailed feedback on it.
As such, the workshop is priced accordingly and the structure is built around that whole novel review. If you opt out of the feedback, you’d miss most of the course experience.
As a result, if you’re not in a place where you’d like to submit a novel draft and recieve feedback on it, The Whole Novel Workshop is not for you.
You can talk to our team to figure out what other workshops might be a better fit for your stage in your journey.
2. You Might Consider Using Faculty 1:1 Time for General Consultation, Instead of Manuscript, Dummy, or Portfolio Review.
If the workshop you are considering offers a manuscript, portfolio, or other submission, and you’re not ready to do so, you might consider using whatever faculty 1:1 time is included in the workshop for a more general consultation.
- Maybe you have industry questions you’ve been waiting to run by someone who has experience in the market.
- Maybe you have a list of story ideas, and you want a sounding board or a brainstorm partner.
- Maybe you’ve published in some genres, but you’re feeling stuck or trying to break into something new.
One of the most valuable parts of feedback is fresh perspective, and you don’t always need a submission to get that at the Highlights Foundation!
Feel free to check ahead of time with our team if you’d like more information about how your experience might be impacted by opting out of and/or modifying a feedback opportunity, or to talk about options.
Or, include details in your Registration Notes about how you’d like to approach the feedback opportunities in any given workshop, and we’ll contact you if there is an issue.
3. Small Group Workshopping Can Be Less Flexible.
If the workshop you are considering features a submission for small group workshopping, there are generally less options for flexiblity. That’s because the struture of and timing of the small group workshopping sessions are usually built around the submission.
If you aren’t ready to submit or receive peer feedback on a submission, you can usually just opt out of the small group workshopping sessions altogether (whether they’re in person or online).
It is generally ok, but again, feel free to check ahead of time with our team to understand how it might impact your experience.
Also, please include details in your Registration Notes about how you’d like to approach the small group feedback opportunities in any given workshop, so that we can plan accordingly. We’ll contact you if there is an issue.
Your Workshop Experience is Yours
The Highlights Foundation does try our best to be flexible about the submission process, while still allowing ample preparation time for faculty and fellow students. But ultimately, your workshop experience is your own! If you have any questions, concerns, or needs you’d like us to know about, please contact us. Thank you!