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High Plains Writing

Workshops 2020- 21



Covid-19 note:

Before Covid-19, we took our workshops on the road, in 2019 to Prague, in 2018 to Chania, Crete. We had all kinds of big plans for 2020 (Goa, India, Edinburgh, Scotland), but like everyone else we stayed home.


We hope to hit the road again sometimes soon, but until then we will be running small workshops in person at Ike's in the summer of 2021, and via Zoom via The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and Love Street Writers in Melbourne, Australia. See the schedule, below.

Sign up for our email list to keep in the loop new Zoom workshops. .

What is High Plains Writing?

To progress in their craft, a writer needs both inspiration and time for new ideas to incubate, crack open and grow. And to explore new artistic territory, a writer also needs a third element: a bit of pressure. We need risk in order to leave our comfort zones, time zones, hemispheres. A little push off the cliff’s edge. 


High Plains Writing Workshops supply all three. All are lead by Robin McLean, who has been leading workshops in college courses and community workshops for a decade. The workshops are immersive, propelling writers toward new work and deeper into pre-existing stories. 

Read what writers say about working with Robin, here.

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Dec. 12, 2020

9am -12pm CST

with Robin McLean

Bridging the Divide: a multi-genre all-level Zoom workshop at The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

There are the things we write, and the things we want to write, and the divide between. We know when we have reached the divide when we stop typing at a precipice, when pens are set down, when we say: “No, I can’t write that.” Or worst of all, the delete button! In this generative class, we’ll build a bridge over the divide. Using a variety of guided writing exercises, we’ll cross over to the other side, into “dangerous” ways of writing; whether personally prohibited content, or style, we’ll find methods of exploring through technique. Participants will depart the class with new landscapes open, more freedom of movement in their work, and liberty to travel on new and necessary maps.

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12 weeks

Jan 28 -April 15, 2021

Thursday 6- 9pm CST

with Robin McLean

Workshop Your Novel in Progress

Novel writing is an arduous journey. We each go it alone most of the time. In this class, we will join forces and embark as comrades into our novels’ hidden passageways. Over twelve weeks, we will form a vital community of writers offering each other support, inspiration and energy through useful, craft-based and rigorous response. Our aim will be to assist the writer toward successful completion with their novel, and to form a trusted community that will endure when the class is over, perhaps for lifetimes. The class will be led by an experienced novelist, story writer and teaching artist who believes writing is a team sport! The class is best suited for advanced writers who have an understanding of the basics of fiction craft, and at least one novel draft of 100+ pages in progress.

More info and sign up

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Australia, Feb 27 - March 1, 2021.

with Robin McLean

Icebergs & Elbow Grease, Online: a multi-genre all-level Zoom workshop at LoveStreet Writer, Melbourne, Australia

We live in an age that adores “Genius,” the Mozarts of the world who get things perfect — Glorious and resonant — on the first draft. Most of us don’t, and perhaps we should be thankful.  In this workshop we will delve under the tip of the Iceberg, which is what most early drafts are. We will examine work on the line level, but we also mine larger fissures for troves of treasure. We will dig and expand and excise with the eye to make your work more like  your work can be. Each writer will submit 10-15 pages of work for peer-review, workshop discussion and feedback from Robin. The process of reviewing each others work is part of the editing workshop experience, providing invalauble insight to how you might also improve your own work.


Introductory prices for this intimate workshop of 6 writers are AUD$620 per writer.



A spotlight focus will be put on each writers work for a rigurous in-depth, hour and half discussion of what is on the page, what about the craft is making the writing work, and what is needed to elevate and deepen the writing.


The full cost of Ike's Canyon retreats and workshops is due 45 days prior to the start date. In case of cancellation, payment is  refundable -- minus the deposit  -- prior to 30 days before the start date. For cancellations within 30 days of the start date, all payments are non-refundable.