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!)