The great SF mobile writing retreat

I’m on my way home after a week in San Francisco hanging out with Pam Rosenthal and staging the great SF mobile writing retreat. Mobile in the sense that we had no fixed address (apart from my solo turn at Pam’s kitchen table yesterday), but parked ourselves in whatever coffee shop had wifi–which is of course essential to good solid writing–and power. (btw, Starbucks, you cannot make a nice cup of tea. I don’t know what it is but it tastes stewed from the get go. I guess this is what happens when you order tea in a place renowned for its coffee.)

We both got a lot of stuff done and also polished up our presentations–mine was on writing humor, which I gave to the SF-RWA last Saturday (and it’s coming to Maryland Romance Writers in November). Pam’s was last night at the Pink Bunny, an upscale lingeries/sexy stuff store, about writing BDSM. Both very well received. All this and I got to have nachos with the lovely Ms. Jewel, Korean food with the lovely Isobel Carr, and lots of book talk. Lots more great food in good company and a memorable day in the Asian Art Museum.

It’s interesting how productive you can be with a friend parked opposite you also being productive. Why is this? We didn’t resort to cries of encouragement or word counts within a certain amount of time. I don’t know that either would have worked since we both have such different styles and I am doing a rewrite/reconstruction (don’t ask me how, I lost my final manuscript. Well, it was written seven years ago). We didn’t even talk to each other much (not while writing). We just sat there and plugged away.

An interesting process. I don’t know how long this would have taken on my own, weeks or months rather than days, and I got some icky plot problems solved from the original and figured out how to work in a final sex scene. Pam very wisely told me I needed more talk less action and she was right. And I got to see a couple of excerpts from her WIP. (No, I’m not saying a word.)

I don’t know why this particular chemistry happens, and I’d like to hear your thoughts. Is it because writing is such a solitary pursuit that having a bit of company is a comfort? That  if you get to one of those places where you get stuck knowing that you have someone to bounce an idea off gives you the oomph to move forward?

What do you think?



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