This past weekend I went up to Maine for a writer’s retreat. Unlike a convention, which focuses on primarily teaching and pitch opportunities, this retreat was designed to offer attendees the opportunity for quiet writing time, brainstorming and workshops.

The speakers were amazing. KA Mitchell who did an awesome workshop on character personality types. And wow! she offered some indepth information to give writers tools for making characters that walk off the pages. Plus, she’s got a great sense of humor which made her presentation that much more enjoyable.

Historical author, Hannah Howell gave a wonderful talk on motivation. Something I desperately need at the moment as I’m finding it very easy to do anything but write. Later at dinner, she was recognized by some avid romance readers who stopped over at our table, completely giddy, and asked to have their picture taken with her. (They also were celebrating a bachelorette party which made it even that much more fun!) And Hannah was very gracious posing and smiling for her fans.

On Saturday morning Julia Spencer-Flemming spoke to us about adding suspense and conflict to our stories. She’s a mom of four (which I think contributed to the “nothing can phaze me attitude) with a wonderful sense of humor.

To say I enjoyed listening to these ladies is an understatement. All of them were insightful and, if I can incorporate even half of what they offered for writing tips, will make my stories so much better!

There are some conferences where everyone’s good news can really make me feel like I’m treading slowly through this profession, where I wonder if I’ll ever find my place in the publishing world. Though everyone’s journey is different, sometimes it’s really hard not to compare onesself to others’ successes. But this weekend I was able to just accept where I am and let the energy exploding from the other attendees to really fuel my fire. I am buzzing with the drive to keep going and get the stories in my head down on paper.

There are many conferences coming up in the next few months. Lots of opportunities for readers to meet authors and/or go to book signings. Plenty of chances for writers to rub elbows with their peers, agents and editors. Will you be attending any of them? If you do, why do you attend? I’d love to hear about your experiences because I’m always curious why others are motivated to go to conferences and retreats.

8 Responses to Writing Retreats to Write About

  • It sounds like a really great event…I have not had the chance to attend anything in a while and I miss it….

    • Savannah – I much prefer smaller venues like this one. It gives me an opportunity to really visit with some friends. Which, let’s face it, is half the reason I go to these things. LOL!

  • I agree – I was also at the retreat and was energized by the people & space. Sometimes, as an unpublished writer, it is intimidating to attend conferences. My resons are of course always to learn new things about the business, how I can improve my craft, etc. However, what I love most is hearing a writer’s story of their journy. Here in Maine Union Church offers an author series where readers can come and hear a presentation and then there is a book signing. It was energizing to hear the vast differences between Richard Russo and Denis Lahane, their habits of writing and their personal journy. I guess you can say I am a journy junkie….enjoy the day and all it has to offer.

    • LA – It is fascinating to learn how each author has come at the business just a little differently. Also, with everyone’s writing style/schedule/habits being so different, I always learn something when spending time with other authors.

  • Hannah Howell???? I love her! I’m a huge fan! Next time you see her, tell her Julia adores her!

    • I’m fortunate enough to know her personally. She’s a really nice lady … and talented! Very talented! I will pass your squeeing fan awesomeness on to her.

  • It sure does sound like you enjoyed yourself. And I’m glad to hear you were able to just sit back, relax and enjoy being surrounded by your peers. It’s natures instinct to compare ourselves to others, but let me assure you, you are talented and I have thoroughly enjoyed the books of yours I have read. Did that make ya smile? :0). Good, cause it’s true!

    I’m going to my first convention this September, Romanticon. I’m excited and nervous to be amongst so many talented authors as I’m just starting to dip my toes in the water. But I am looking forward to the workshops and learning as much as I can from them and the women I meet. I’m hoping to attend more conferences next year, but I shall have to see what new hoops I’ll have to jump through to pull that off! :0)

    • Elece – Yes, your compliment completely made my day. *straightens shirt after backflips*

      Conventions are wonderful, especially when there are so many fantastic writers offering support.

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