Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Outcome of a Writer Retreat

I only had one regret, I didn't stay longer.

I spent some time reflecting. 
Even though I went with four fellow writers, it was a productive and solitary experience.

Quick walks to stretch the legs near the lake were tiny rewards 
of the weekend.
I managed to whip out twenty PiBoIdMo ideas and 7k on my new YA wip. Just the mere fact I didn't have to worry about cooking dinner or sweeping the floors was a blessing. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 

There you have it. Are writer retreats necessary? No. Worthwhile? Yes. Well, I guess that would depend on what you put into them. ;)

Write on, folks~

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writer Retreats: Do You Need Them?

Do you need to attend a writer's retreat in order to produce a publishable book? 


Even Stephen King says those who attend writing classes, courses, and retreats are, "... all too often, looking for a magic bullet or a secret ingredient or possibly Dumbo's magic feather, none of which can be found in classrooms or at writing retreats..."

But are they a fabulous time to fuel your inspiration and creativity? 

Heck yeah.

If you read on in King's ON WRITING, he also adds, they do "...offer at least one undeniable benefit: in them, the desire to write fiction or poetry is take seriously... It is entirely permissible to spend large chunks of your time off in your own little dreamworld."

For me, a writer's retreat is not about the place, it's about the time spent writing. You don't have to spend buckoos of bucks on a writing getaway either.

I mean, just look at George Bernard Shaw's rotating writing hut. Key word: hut.

Shaw designed the hut to rotate to follow the sunshine, because for him, writing in the sunshine was his own little dreamworld.

Let's go back to King's idea of writing retreats allow writers to spend large amounts of time writing, which is a biggie for most modern day writers. 

We're busy people! Most of us don't have the luxury of spending all day at the computer. We've got kids, families, pets, housework, meal preps, day jobs, errands, and yes, time for sleep and a decent shower.

Writing retreats, no matter how long, allow us time to write. 

They give us permission to spend time with our stories, getting to know our characters, with ourselves, and occasionally with other writerly folk.

This weekend, I'm heading to east Texas with five other writers for a writer getaway. I'm quite certain my room will not rotate with the sun, but who's complaining? 

Next week, I'll post part two of Writer Retreats.

Write on, folks~

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November IWSG: A Best Selling Dose of Inspiration

Two weeks ago, I had the distinct honor of shaking hands and meeting one of the bestselling children's series authors of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, R. L. Stine. Isn't he adorable?
R. L. Stine and little ole me
At the Texas Book Festival, Liz Mertz, Molly Blaisdell, and I spent the entire day in a book-filled dreamland. At least that's what it felt like. Authors, publishers, booksellers, and book lovers from all over, gathered on the grounds of the Texas Capital to celebrate one thing. BOOKS. 
Liz Mertz, Molly Blaisdell, and I in the House Chamber
At dusk, we ventured over to the Texas State Cemetery for Ghosts in the Graveyard with R. L. Stine and James Preller, who read ghost stories to a horde of fans spread out on the cemetery lawn. James Preller's blog post about the event was recently picked up by the Huffington Post. I'm not sure either of the two authors were prepared for the Texas-sized crowd O_O! When the book signing began, I recall hearing R. L. saying, "I guess they don't do lines in Texas." As a witness, I'd say his comment was an understatement. 

James Preller signing my book
A nod from Mr. Preller, whom I'd met earlier, directed me behind the table for a quick signing of my book. It pays to have connections, no matter how small. 

Before the event, I'd been suffering from one of those pesky, what-the-heck-am-I-doing, writerly syndromes. You know the kind, right? But as each moment passed throughout the day, I felt the inspiration trickling in. Before I knew it, good ole creative juice pumped through my veins once again. 

If any of you IWSG'ers out there are struggling, find a book event, a conference, or a book signing and attend. I promise you won't walk away empty-hearted. Sometimes we need an extra boost to kick us into gear.

The Insecure Writers Support Group meets the first Wednesday of the month. It's where writers around the world can express their fears, insecurities, or offer support and encouragement to others. Founded by Author Alex Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a phenomenal group of writers. A HUGE thanks goes out to November's co-hosts: CD CoffeltTina DowneyIsis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace

And now, back to my UnRaNoWriMo... Write on, folks~