Sunday, October 5, 2014

Writer Retreat-ing, Dancing, and Brainstorming

The confession behind this blog: Read here. 

This week, a baby had a birthday. A wall finally got painted. And my writing got a retreat.

Before chalkboard paint

After chalkboard paint

I'd had that chalkboard paint for one year, and I had not so much been putting it off as much as I had been reprioritizing its value in my life. Usually, my values go as follow:

1) Health
2) Family
3) Writing
4) Art Stuff (Painting this wall fell under here)
49) Cooking
50) Cleaning

A lot of Health Stuff (exercise! sleep!) and Family Stuff (children! husband! visits to mom and dad! outtings with in-laws!) and Writing Stuff (starting a Self-Publishing Career in 1,000,000 easy steps!) had to get done before that Art Stuff.

Somebody loved blowing out a candle

This week also had a birthday. Yay to you, Birthday Boy! He learned to blow out a candle. Luckily, I had already learned to take the candle OFF the cake before he blew. The spit shot on my hand and not the cake everyone was looking forward to.

A cat and her clothes fort

Painting and birthday-ing came and went, and then it was time to prepare for my writer's retreat. I think I've been going to this retreat for five years. It's held at a writer friend's property, chock-full of cabins and views of the finger islands and waterways in Northern Maine. And so laundry was cleaned (and dumped on the bed as I kept laundering/momming/writing) and a cat was made happy by her temporary hidey-hole.

Then it was off TO MAINE! This is where writing, eating, and dancing were had. We even video-taped our goals for the next year. Some included self-publishing goals, others had traditional publishing goals. And there were also hybrid writing goals (self-publishing AND traditional publishing).

My view as we danced, danced, danced outside

My view as we wrote, wrote, wrote inside

My view as I jog, jog, jogged in the rain

This group was a mixture of published writers, with experiences in picture books, middle grade, young adult, prose, verse, romance... (Guess who that was.) It was a mixture of hyper-focused writers and slow-to-start writers. But we were all there to brainstorm. To help solve problems. To commiserate over agents and publishing woes and publishing successes. To talk about books, books, and more books! (Sigh. Talking books with other book lovers is, like, the best.)

Us writer chicks bonding

To swear to each other what we would strive to accomplish before the next Writer's Retreat Moon. Complete with a candle, a pirate book, and friendship bracelets. (You NEVER outgrow friendship bracelets!)

Us writer chicks leaving

Then we had to get back to the real world, with new energy, firmed-up goals, and an extra five pounds of chocolate, pie, and kielbasa weight in tow.

Leaving. Sniff, sniff.

And now back in the real world, I get to look back at what 48 hours with like-minded ladies did for me:

--> Helped confirm my gut feelings for what I'm doing, which is building product for my store. Writing, writing, and more writing!

--> Gave me brainstorms for future books. (Thank you Maurissa G!) And serials! (Thank you Robin M. and Angie F.!)

--> Gave me time to find all the kinks in my current book I've been slow about doing because, well, it's a little boring. (Why? I answer five pages of single-spaced notes about the story. Then another three pages of character questions. Productive but not word-count productive.)

--> Gave my husband time to see all that Mama does at home. :oD

Do you have a retreat you look forward to, year after year after year?

Until next Sunday!

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