Five Things I learned from my Writer’s Retreat

  1. Ideas are easy. Coming up with new ideas for a story and developing a plan are easy. Verbalizing a synopsis of your story, or just telling it, is easy. Hitting the high points, introducing your characters, and bringing it all together in a two minute monologue–that’s easy.
  2. Writing is hard. Connecting those plot points is hard. Organizing the storyline into a rich and cohesive landscape, wow, what a challenge. Even though you think you know your story, there are SO MANY details necessary to expand an idea into a novel. Writing is hard.
  3. Writing is AWESOME. There is no feeling quite like finding your writing groove. You’re over the hump, you’re on a roll, you’re good to go. And. It. Is. Awesome. I wrapped up the edits on Pocket Money (coming soon!) and then I worked on my next novel, a story that takes place both in 2016 and 1994, and as I was working, I had an epiphany. It wasn’t just any epiphany, it was a fuhpiphany. You know it. I’m still wallowing in the afterglow. Pretty darned awesome.
  4. Writing is a solitary act. It’s true, when you write, you write alone. You are either writing, or you’re not. You can accomplish getting words on a page in the middle of a bustling Starbucks, at a quietly visited library, or at your kitchen table while the kids play and the spouse watches television, but the actual writing is a singular action.
  5. Writing Retreats are social. The time together with other writers is essential. We become an eddy of inspiration and creativity. Discussing, sound-boarding, debating, singing, laughing, sharing opinions and research. These interactions all help, not only advance our stories but also to keep us energized and dedicated. And the effects are lingering–what doesn’t make the page may inspire something that does. You can’t get that kind of flow while clogging a booth at Panera.

We spent four days at the Walker House in Mineral Point, Wis. It was a wonderful get-away, at a fantastic lodge, with fabulous hosts and interesting guests. It’s hard to be home and focus on the writing with a thousand boxes begging attention. It makes me even more grateful for my writing time away.


About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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3 Responses to Five Things I learned from my Writer’s Retreat

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