Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Retreats Rock

So, if you've been wondering where I've been the last week, I've been Branson for the AWESOMEST WRITING RETREAT EVER. I don't say this to gloat or make you feel bad, but to encourage you to get together with your writer friends for a few days and just hang, because it is amazing.

Writing retreats are awesome, not because of the inside jokes you come away with, but because you get to spend time with people who get you. People who don't think it's strange that the first thing you do in the morning is turn on the coffee pot and the computer, rather than shower. People who don't judge you when it's 5pm and you're still in your pajamas. People who aren't afraid when you talk about the voices in your head. It really doesn't get better than that.

I honestly can't explain how awesome it is to sit down to write and hear nothing but the soft click of fingers on the keyboard and see this:

(Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff)

(Kiersten White - below Freddy The Moose - not pictured)

(Victoria Schwab, Sarah Darer Littman, Julia Karr, Jessica Spotswood)

Not only is it inspiring, but it's demystifying. NYT Bestselling authors sit down with their laptops and write, just like me. There's no magic, just hard work.

If there's any wisdom I can offer from my time here in Branson, it's that writers need time with other writers. It doesn't have to be far away at a lodge, or for a week, with 22 other writers. It can be a weekend in your backyard, the results will be the same -- a feeling of kinship that we miss sometimes when we're on the other side of computer monitors.

So go make your own retreat, or mini-retreat, or weekly sit down with another writer. It's so worth it! (And if you can get Maggie Stiefvater to come and bake you cookies from scratch, all the better!)


  1. Oh wow, I'm soooo jealous that you got to hang out with all those amazing authors! But you're right. They're just like us in that they sit down at the computer and write. I love your idea of creating your own retreat. One of the best retreats I've ever been to was when my critique group did that.

    ~Heather of CSC

  2. Thank you for sharing the pics, Valerie! Glad you're having such a great time! And I can't wait until we do our own SIS/TF retreat!

  3. Valerie-I'm glad it was as amazing as you thought it would be.

    Lacey-I know...I wished we lived closer to each other!

  4. It was awesome right up to the point where we got snowed in and all of our flights were cancelled!

    But yeah, it was a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. I definitely think it's something every writer should do. One day Kristi!

  5. Oh YES, I know whatcha mean! I love writer retreats. Here in Oregon we have an annual May conference, but in October we also have an annual retreat in cabins in the mountains by Silver Falls. I always have a WONDERFUL time. Love making the connections. :)

  6. Just curious, what was your agenda like? Was there a plan for each day, or did you just wing it? What's everyone doing at that long table with their laptops, anyway? Inquiring minds wanna know!

  7. Elle - we didn't have much of a set schedule other than the live chats every night and a group dinner and chat. Other than that we were free to write, which is what everyone was doing on their laptops most of the time (and in those pictures).

  8. So jealous! Thanks for posting about this though, I've really enjoyed the live chats :)

  9. I have too, Lynsey! I'm sad I had to miss the last one.

  10. I love how almost everyone has a MacBook. I'd fit right in :)

    I LOVE how Maggie decorated hers. I shouldn't be surprised :P


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