Q: How long has Lighthouse been around?
We started in Denver in 1997. Prior to that, we ran a few workshops in Boston. We figured Denver needed a Lighthouse, while Boston already has its fair share.
Q: What is Lighthouse?
We are a writing community devoted to the literary arts in Denver. We accomplish our mission through workshops, literary events, and a youth program, all of which support writers (and readers!) at any stage in their journey. Writers need writers, and we offer opportunities to connect with our tribe.
Q: Is Lighthouse a non-profit?
Yes! In 2004, Lighthouse Writers Workshop was officially designated as a 501(c)3 organization. (Unofficially, we always had nonprofit leanings.)
Q: What kind of workshops do you provide?
We offer 8-week, 4-week, and one or half-day workshops in novel, short story, poetry, nonfiction, screenwriting and more. We also offer workshops for young writers. As of 2013, we also have long-term programs for experienced writers called The Book Project and The Poetry Book Project.
Q: What are the differences between classes?
The Book Project programs and 8-week workshops are places to go for the full experience of the community and give-and-take of a writing workshop. That means, depending on the class, you’ll be submitting your own writing to the instructor and group for constructive feedback. Our workshops live by the rule: Let the writer go home inspired to get back to work. When everything’s clicking, the workshop becomes a working group of writers who push each other to continue down the sometimes arduous path of writing.
The 4-week courses are NOT workshop-based. In other words, they’re designed not as a place you’ll go to get detailed feedback on your work, but a place to generate new ideas and material, do writing exercises, read like crazy, and focus on certain special elements of craft.
Our one-day and half-day workshops are wonderful for writers who wish to focus on a particular element of craft (point of view, character development, narrative arc etc.) or be introduced to a completely new form of writing. These workshops are interactive, discussion-driven, and involve a lot of hands-on writing.
Q: I’m a beginner. Do you have something for me?
Heck, yes. You’re one of our absolute favorites. Lighthouse serves writers of all ability levels, from beginners to published authors and MFAs. There’s no caste system here—all writers are writers, regardless of where they are on the journey. We recommend starting out with a half-day or one-day workshop, or one of the courses designed specifically for folks just starting or needing a refresher, like Writing 101: You Gotta Start Somewhere, or any of our introductory 8-week courses.
Q: I’m an established writer, but would like the support of a writing community. Do you offer advanced workshops?
We offer intermediate and advanced classes in short story, novel, personal essay, and memoir, as well as The Book Project and Poetry Book Project. All of the workshops are designed to do one thing: keep you writing and pushing yourself as a writer. We encourage any and all writers to take intro-level courses when trying a new or different form/genre, and then moving into the intermediate sections, which could just as aptly be called "ongoing." The focus of these workshops is to keep story writers writing stories, poets writing poems, novelists progressing through their novels, etc. You decide when you're ready to enroll--no application is necessary. These can be repeated for eternity (and perhaps even beyond).
The advanced courses are generally full of members who have been with Lighthouse for a long time, who have been studying through MFA programs, or have worked on their writing for years. Because space is limited in these workshops, we do require a submission to the instructor in order to apply. If the advanced courses are full or you don't get in right away, we recommend enrolling in the intermediate classes and generating as much new writing as possible while awaiting a spot in the advanced course. The Book Project and Poetry Book Project are competitive programs requiring an application due each summer. Due to space limitations, we are generally able to accept a little less than half the applications we receive.
Q: I can't make it to the regularly scheduled classes. Are your online courses a good alternative?
Like our regular workshops, the online classes include readings, writing exercises, and a workshop component. But rather than a regular meeting time, the instructor posts materials on Monday and the discussion unfolds over the course of the week. Each participant determines how much work to do and what they would like to share, but everyone is expected to participate in the workshop component, not only submitting their own work but also carefully reading and commenting on all of their peers' submissions.
Q: What kind of technology is required for the online courses?
Not to worry: the technology is both basic and secure. We use a web-based program called Canvas. For a list of browsers and programs that work best, see here. The freedom is the real advantage here: You can check in according to your own schedule, anywhere that you have an internet connection, keeping you connected to our literary community on your own time.
Q. I keep hearing that Lighthouse is for literary writers and I’m working on a mystery. Am I out of luck?
While our instructors tend to write literary fiction and use literary examples, we believe in the beauty of storytelling in all its forms. Some of the best genre writers of our time are creating exciting, page-turning work, and we’re on the same team. We believe that good stories are good stories. That said, we do make a concerted effort to offer genre-specific courses in noir, YA, science fiction, speculative writing, graphic novel, and horror from time to time. If your specific genre is not being offered, we recommend taking the workshop that would best cater to your project -- novel, screenplay, play, etc. -- and seeing for yourself how it works. If you discover our focus feels too literary, we apologize, but at the same time are grateful for the variety you bring to the workshop.
Q: Can I work with a faculty member one-on-one?
Yes. Many of our award-winning faculty members will consult with writers individually. However, private consultation can be costly. We recommend taking a workshop or two first, as this allows you to get to know the instructor, and whether his/her style is a good fit with your own. All of our instructors are working writers and university-level teachers of writing, so their time is well worth the money, but it is an investment. To inquire about one-on-one work, email us at email@example.com.
Q. I tried a class once and it wasn’t what I expected.
Every class is different—not only is the chemistry always changing based on the participants in the workshop, but every instructor at Lighthouse is encouraged to teach with their own signature, the way they think works best. So, if you try one class and it didn’t work for you, we encourage you to try another. One thing that keeps Lighthouse thriving is the wide spectrum of styles and voices on our faculty. Also, keep in mind that intro-level courses may have quite a variety of participants, from experienced writers trying a new genre to someone who hasn’t written seriously since high school. We want everyone to find a place at Lighthouse. As you move up to intermediate and advanced levels, you’ll see more focus and emphasis on craft.
Q. What is your workshop cancellation policy?
A: Our cancellation policy can be found here.
Q: I have some finished work and I’m interested in publishing. Do you offer any professional assistance?
There are a few ways that we help. Some instructors end their classes with visiting editors or with talks on the business of writing. Lit Fest, our two-week summer conference held every June, has a series of panels, salons, and opportunities to meet with editors and agents from Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
Q: Do you work with young writers?
Yes! We offer quality creative writing instruction to young people, grades 3-12. Our programs include weekend workshops, a popular week-long summer camp, and visits to local schools. Teachers and parents interested in sending students to Lighthouse programs can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial assistance is available to students who need it.
Q. I'm more of a writing enthusiast and reader these days. Do you have programs for me?
Sure do. Check out our Events page for details on upcoming dates for our free, community series, as well as special programs, partnerships, and collaborations. Or, if you want something more sustained, or a more structured environment, you might like our Reading as a Writer classes, four-week workshops that focus on reading great literary works.
Q: How many members do you have?
Currently we have over 1,700 members, and they are a great group of readers, writers, and literary fans. Want to join? We'd love to have you.
Q: What are the benefits of membership?
We have several membership levels with various special benefits; take a look at the membership page for details, or give us a call. All members get discounts on Lighthouse workshops and events, advance notification of new class postings, invitations to member events, and access to free weekly programming such as Friday 500 and Member Writing Hours. You must also be a member to qualify for Writership tuition assistance.
Q: Does tuition cover the costs of running Lighthouse?
Sadly, no. We are committed to keeping tuition affordable, and currently workshop fees cover only 60% of the cost of running the organization. If you want to help close that gap through membership or sponsorship, please email email@example.com. Or go right ahead and donate online—that always makes our day. While tuition, event admissions, and basic memberships are not tax deductible, all other contributions are fully deductible.
Q: Who funds Lighthouse?
Lighthouse is proud to be an SCFD Tier III Organization. Additional funds come from Colorado Creative Industries, National Endowment for the Arts, The Bloomfield Foundation, Kinder Morgan Foundation, members, and individuals like you. And we are eternally grateful to you all!