Hi ya’ll and Happy Fall! I don’t know about where you live but summer has been a complete you know what, refusing to take a hike here in Oklahoma. It was a miserable 100 degrees yesterday . . . but a nice little cool front came through last night and today it’s only going to be 80, so hallelujah!
Anyhoo, it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post on here, but I figured it’s time to get back to it. And I also have something worth sharing, so here goes . . .
If you’re a writer, then you likely understand what a solitary endeavor it can be. We literally sit in a room by ourselves and allow the characters and stories in our head to come out on the computer screen (or paper, for you old schoolers). Sometimes we make faces or talk to our characters or maybe even talk to ourselves because we’re weird like that. It’s not something that should be done in the presence of other people for the most part.
The truth is, I’m an introvert, so I don’t mind working by myself and I like my own company most of the time. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like people. I do like people. Well, some of them. 😉 I just don’t care for small talk or the everyday drama that some like to engage in.
However, I do believe it’s critical for writers to connect with other writers. Whether it be a critique group, joining a writing organization, attending conferences, or just having coffee with a writer friend or two, getting the chance to connect with other people who do what you do can be so, so helpful in a number of ways.
The cool thing is that this past weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that. I attended my first writers retreat with the Oklahoma Romance Writers Guild (in conjunction with another writing group which I can’t remember the name of off the top of my head!). Other than a casual coffee meet up and going to lunch with writer friends, this retreat was the first real connection opportunity I’ve had this year. And get this, I didn’t know a single person going into it. Talk about being brave!
Writers, however, are a special group of people. I find that I always have something in common with them (and usually a lot of somethings); we tend to be an open-minded and interesting bunch, which I appreciate. I walked right in to the AirBnB where we were staying, introduced myself, and felt right at home with the other eighteen or so ladies (and one brave gentleman) who were in attendance.
The first evening of the retreat, we just socialized and ate dinner and had no specific activities, but the next day, we had a full schedule of games, writing exercises, and writing sprints. It was much more laid back than the conferences I’ve attended, and also much more personal. I came away with quite a few new writer friends and I look forward to hanging out with this group again in the future.
Side note: I was a little hesitant about joining a romance group because I don’t write adult romance or typically straight YA romance either, but I do tend to have a romantic side plot in most of my books. As it turns out, this group is for anyone who writes any bit of romance in their books at all, so I’m really glad I joined.
The cool thing is that I managed to write the first chapter for a new book (which I’ve had very little time to fully develop the idea for considering I just finished with The Devil In Us All the week before). But it does go to show that I CAN write with other people in the room and I CAN use writing sprints to my advantage.
All in all, attending the retreat fulfilled my need to get out and socialize with other writers, which has been sadly lacking as of late. It also left me inspired to keep moving along in this weird, fun, and often difficult journey called writing. If you’ve never joined any type of writing group at all or haven’t attended writing conferences or retreats, I highly encourage you to try at least one of them. There’s nothing quite like connecting with other writers, after all!