writer’s workshops


I’m really excited about Patricia Zaballos’ book Workshops Work!: A Parents Guide to Facilitating Writing Workshops for Kids, which is just out. Patricia is an expert homeschooling writer mama, and I’m so glad to know her. She loves words and inspires others to find the joy in words. (She writes the blog Wonderfarm, and if you have time, please check out her 2009 Year of Excellent Essayists posts, in which she reads and responds each month to the work of a different essayist. They’re fabulous.)

You definitely don’t have to homeschool your kids to get something out of Patricia Zaballos’ Workshops Work! It’s inspiring for any parent, teacher or writer. It reminded me why I love to workshop with my students, and why I love to have my own writing workshopped. It works. It keeps me writing. It makes me a better writer.

Workshops Work! provides inspiration and the nitty gritty details to help anyone establish a writer’s workshop. The book is geared toward adults who are working with kids, but you could just as easily use this book to establish an adult writer’s workshop. It’s full of wonderful nuggets that will not only help writers and writing teachers respond and help their students respond more effectively to workshops, but will help us respond more effectively and empathetically to each other out in the world, in daily life. That’s an unexpected gift in this book.

Patricia has offered three PDF/ebook copies of Workshops Work!  to Motherhood & Words readers. Yay! Please comment below to be entered into the drawing. I will accept comments until Wednesday, December 12.

I’m also looking forward to having Patricia as a guest at Motherhood & Words in the next few weeks to discuss her process with self-publishing. So stay tuned. And don’t forget to leave a comment if you are interested in winning a PDF/ebook copy of Workshops Work!



  1. Count me out in the giveaway, Kate, but I couldn’t resist leaving a comment to say how thrilled I am to have my book shared here! I think you’re right in saying that my book might be helpful to adults looking to start their own writing groups. The book is based just as much in my own workshop experiences as it is in workshopping with kids.

    One of the chapters in the book is called Become a Writer Yourself, because I believe that parents who want to inspire their kids to write should write themselves, in some form. I give a list of recommended reading in that chapter, and of course Use Your Words is there! It’s the best writing inspiration guide for mothers I’ve ever come across. The analysis of essays from talented writer-mothers is one of my favorite aspects of the book. Just the other day, a friend tweeted to me about how much Use Your Words is “unsticking” her in her writing. It’s such good stuff.

    Thanks for sharing my work here, Kate. I’m honored!

    • Oh Patricia, thank YOU! I love that my book is “unsticking” your friend! That means the world to me!!

      And it’s my pleasure to spread the word about your wonderful book!

  2. I just read an article last night about the importance of creative writing skills in business and communicating to people in general. Humans are naturally inclined to respond, be convinced, and learn from a story vs. a list of facts. All the more reason to develop these skills!

  3. This looks really interesting and I did check out WonderFarm and took a peek at the essayist posts . . . and when I’m not supposed to be working, I’ll check them out again.

  4. What a great concept for a book! My homeschooled kids are 12, 9, 6, and 5 (and 2, though he doesn’t write much). 😉 So far our “writing workshop” time has focused more on producing work, rather than critiquing.

  5. I love the idea of this book. I am thinking it may help my reluctant reader as I have learned that improved writing skills, helps reading. I alos think it might provide some good ideas for my writing group as it kicks off now that your class is over. Thanks for continuing to introduce me to so many great books and writers!

  6. I’m a homeschooling mama writer too. I must admit I have never heard of writing groups for kids. What an interesting concept!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Noemi! I think you’d get a ton out of this, so I’m happy that you commented. Stay tuned for the winners.


  7. Ooh, this sounds interesting, Kate. My son writes constantly (has already finished his first novel…he puts me to shame) and I constantly struggle with how much to get involved, provide input, feedback, etc. and how much to just stay out of his way (I’ve been going with erring on the side of the latter, other than providing him with ample time on my laptop). I’d love to take a look at this book and see what Zabollo suggests.

  8. please count me in! I would love to encourage my son to write more, and I think he would love to have a more social aspect in it!

  9. I am so intrigued by this book and looking forward to reading it – I would love to win it! Yay!

  10. I just found this site thanks to Patricia. I know how important it is for kids to see their parents/teachers writing and yet I don’t do this enough. I am excited to have found a place to get a bit more inspiration.

  11. Please count me in for the giveaway. I am off to explore your website to glean even more about writing! Thanks.

  12. Glad to have found your blog as a link from Wonderfarm. Interested to spend more time with your writing too. Thanks.

  13. I’m another homeschooling writer mama and I’d love to win a copy of Patricia’s book! I just launched my own ebook this week and one of the most valuable parts of the process was asking for and receiving feedback from other writers, which I’d never done much before. I’d love to get a writer’s workshop together for my kids when they’re old enough – they’re 6 and 3, so I think I have a couple of years to figure it out!

  14. I teach writing with teenage boys at a very small family style school. Its so hard to get some motivated to even start especially as for many, English is their second language. However, its a process and eventually some very excited young men are proud of their efforts. I very much want this book. Please! I so need new ideas.

  15. Hi, Kate. I don’t know if you remember me. I met you at Common Good Books (I had the 4 kids in the children’s area). Anyway, I have been slowly and carefully going through you book Use Your Words. But I feel like I need more. I can follow your instructions, but I hit a wall. I can’t get beyond the wall. I feel like if I could get beyond that wall maybe I would actually develop my writing and feel like a writer. I don’t know. Someday….alas, someday I will take a course at the Loft.

    Anyway, I thought I would stop by and say hi! Thanks!

    • Gianna, thanks so much for stopping by! I wonder if a writing group would help–it’s so helpful to have a group so you can bounce ideas off each other and also receive regular feedback on your writing. (The deadlines are great, too.) But a Loft class would be ideal. Keep plugging along, and keep me posted!


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