A Professional Retreat Like No Other
Countless conferences, workshops, and retreats exist for authors and illustrators, but when was the last time you heard of a retreat for working editors? Enter, the Editor Strand at Kindling Words. a gift of time and space for children’s book editors to discuss, not just the business of publishing, but the craft of editing. And all in the context of a relaxed and noncompetitive environment, just one hallmark of the Kindling Words experience.
no manuscript critiques to prepare and present
no speeches to write and deliver
no panels to sit on
Topics vary widely and are determined on site by the attending editors and that year’s guest Workshop Leader, a seasoned professional from the children’s book publishing world. When editors are not in one of the three closed sessions, like participants in the Author and Illustrator Strands, they are welcome join white-space discussions with everyone else. Everyone is able to tailor the weekend to their liking – participating in as much or as little of the Kindling Words general schedule as desired. (But chances are very good that you won’t want to miss one single invigorating bit of it!)
Attending Kindling Words for the first time made me understand I wasn’t alone in the world: other editors had struggles like mine! Other editors shared my passion for the industry and my frustrations at its quirks. And where else could we have gotten together to talk shop in a safe, collegial space? And with such incredible cuisine and scenery? Truly, it’s a conference like no other—one where editors are treated as equal, respected participants, not hit up with submissions requests in the bathroom line. It’s a time for reflection, discussion, renewal, and connection.
Many of us operate in isolation–even if we are part of a tight and well-functioning editorial team. The work itself of writing, reading, acquiring, shaping, and building great books is by nature often solitary. But at the same time, because we share a reverence for stories well told, when we have the opportunity to connect with others who feel the same way, it’s a thrill. The editors-only sessions are rare and welcome chances to discuss our professional and personal paths in a supportive and non-competitive atmosphere. Strong connections can form in that room that help each of us better perform our tasks and reach our personal and professional goals. As editors participating in Kindling Words, we see on a broad canvas the ways in which our roles flow into the lives and work of the authors and illustrators with whom we work. Our interdependence is highlighted, and we have a chance to reflect on how much we matter to the storytellers we are among–and how much they matter to us. Going to Kindling Words and being immersed with a hundred or so of “my people” is a highlight of my year.
I found everything about Kindling Words/Vermont to be inspiring – from the programs to the gathering of talent to, yes, the food, to the respect for writers’ and editors’ downtime. I can’t imagine how one could come back from Kindling Words and not feel recharged, and all the more dedicated to the power of words/art/muses.
I love KW so much—I love learning from, and just hanging out with and bonding with esteemed authors, illustrators, and fellow editors. It was so liberating to attend a conference like that and be there to learn, rather than teach and be pitched to. I proceeded to attend for seven years after that first time, and hope to attend often in the future. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable KW is to an editor. In addition to the connections and friendships one makes with other publishing professionals, I’ve learned so much about both the craft of editing and the business of publishing. And best of all, I always return to work after KW feeling reinvigorated and re-inspired about my job. I would highly recommend KW to editors of any level.