Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Time to Retreat...

It's that time of year--the Poconos Retreat. Time to breathe in some creative air and soak up some inspiration from my writing pals as we pig out on gourmet food and get back on track with some dead-on editorial guidance. Now that I've been at this for a few years--7 actually--conferences have taken on a very different feel to them. I used to be jumping with nerves and self-doubt, but eagerly devouring every morsel of critical advice and writerly inspiration I could scrape up. I don't know if you would call me a war horse yet, but I feel that I've ridden these trails hard and heavy and at least 100 times by now. Okay, maybe not 100. But in some ways I have arrived as a writer. There is still plenty of new stuff to hear, lots of mistakes to correct, oodles of connections to make, but I think the most satisfying part of this weekend is the camaraderie. That sense that we've all stretched ourselves until we are paper-thin, fought for our babies--our literary progeny--until we can't bear to look at those tatty manuscripts any longer. Of course we know that after a few months in a dark drawer, those pesky little pups will whine until they get our attention again.

But a weekend of editorial panels, workshops, and writers sharing their million war stories on the road to publication somehow revives me. There is a strange affirmation to having your first page shredded by 5 or 6 editors in front of 100 other people, all bleeding from their own wounds. Some on life support. But it reminds me that yes, I am a writer. And yes, I do love it.


  1. "...I think the most satisfying part of this weekend is the camaraderie."

    Yup. Writing can be a lonely business.

    I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun -- again.

  2. I can't WAIT to hear about this retreat! HAVE FUN!!!

    (And I saw your reply from MR -- at least she was fast! :))

  3. Yep, Deena, it was fast. Bummer! But that's okay. Very complimentary. "liked it, but didn't fall in love with it."

    And that is the great thing about the whole internet thing, JM. So many people to connect to and not feel quite so isolated.

  4. I envy your ease at conferences. I'm naturally a very shy person, but I began attending local and summer winter SCBWI conferences three years ago. At first, they were torture, but after awhile, they become more comfortable. I was just beginning to feel really good and excited about attending when I got pregnant. No idea now when I'll be able to attend another one. Hopefully it'll be like riding a bike when the time finally comes :).

  5. I remember my first conference. I felt like such a fraud. What was I doing? But I met some wonderful people and got first-hand information from editors--yes, each editor had a different opinion, but that in itself was incredibly valuable info. I felt awkward and a bit shy, but I just made up my mind that I was there for a reason.

    You will hop right back on that bike, Becca. Don't worry. And you have such a huge arsenal of stories to share, too!

  6. Enjoy the retreat, Mary Ann. It sounds wonderful! Sometimes we do need to connect with each other. Conferences are self-validating. I've only been to one! I'm going to the eastern NY SCBWI conference in June and then to Chautauqua in July. I know I'm going to feel awkward and uncomfortable but maybe I'll make some good connections.

    Anyhow, have a great time! Sounds like you're well on your way to being a professional (meaning published) writer. We already know you're a writer.

  7. wonderful!
    Have a great w/e!

  8. What a lovely post! How was the retreat?

    I posted about our day at Marilyn's on my livejournal blog. You can get there from my blogger site.

    The pic of you is beautiful!

  9. Hey ghostgirlfriend - can't wait to hear more about it!


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