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Tag Archives: writers’ retreat

I’m just getting caught up on Risky Regencies posts (and everything else), because I, like Elena, have been to a Retreat. Mine was more conference-like–Washington Romance Writers Spring Retreat, always titled In The Company of Writers.

The WRW Retreat is more conference-like, because there are workshops and speakers but it is also retreat-like, because we dress casually and the number of attendees stays small, about 110 this year.  No paddling on a lake, like Elena could do, but lots and lots of mixing with friends, old and new.

As in other years, the agents and editors attending are always asked what is selling these days; what is hot.

Contemporaries, especially small town stories and romances, are doing well, apparently. But all agreed that a good book will find its home and as soon as someone declares something won’t sell, a wonderful book will burst out and become the next big trend. They said it was much more important to feel passionate about the book you are writing than to try to write to trends.

One of the editors said that Regency remains an appeal because readers feel they know the time period and are comfortable there.

Mary Jo Putney talked about her 29 years in publishing and about her return to the Regency genre after writing some contemporaries, fantasies, and YA. Mary Jo also very much advocated writing what you are passionate about and, in the past, she took some big chances with her career to do just that.

What I took away from all this, was how important it is to write a book you are passionate about, no matter what the genre or subgenre.

Speaking of Mary Jo, she said her new release, No Longer A Gentleman, is on bookstore shelves. If you’ve purchased the book before today, check to see if page 362 is missing. A printing error left out page 362 in the first printed books. Ebooks are complete. Go to Mary Jo’s website for the text of the missing page.

Speaking of subgenres. Amanda’s blog yesterday was posted late. Go there and read all about The Taming of The Rogue, Amanda’s latest. Look at its fabulous cover and post a comment for a chance to win a signed copy!

What do you think? Can you tell if the author is passionate about the book you are reading?

Come to Diane’s Blog on Thursday for more about the WRW Retreat.


My writers’ weekend was fantastic. We did all the usual things and even the weather cooperated. It was supposed to be gloomy and in the 40s, but we got sun and 50s. I was able to do my “thinking walks” and “thinking paddles” and my friends and I all got lots of writing done.

My output was over two chapters and over 5000 words, which is great for a slow writer like me. Note my nifty Progress Meter. Yes, this story will get done eventually, even if by then everyone will be sick of hearing about it. 🙂
Click to view daily statistics

I’ve also reached a spot where I’m no longer confident about what comes next. I’m usually a combination of plotter and pantser. I start with a plot and though I often deviate when a better idea hits, I’m always aware of the overall arc that I planned out at the beginning. This time, it feels different, as if the right ending is behind a wall of fog. I can’t see ahead and it’s a little unsettling. But one thing I’m taking away from this weekend is that I can trust these characters. I have a hunch that if I keep moving forward, one scene at a time, they’ll do better things than if I try to follow the outline.

It’s a little weird and a little scary, but it also feels like some sort of breakthrough. Or is it the euphoria a bungee jumper feels just before she realizes the cord is a tad long?

Have you ever felt a compulsion (for which you can find no rational basis) to do something differently than you have in the past?  Did it work out for you?  I hope some of you say yes!

When you combine:

  • a small group of mommy writers
  • a lake house rental
  • chocolate
  • laptops
  • coffee and tea
  • DVDs featuring gorgeous men in period garb
  • chocolate
  • notebooks
  • wine
  • and (in case I forgot) chocolate?

The makings of a fabulous writers’ retreat and what I’m doing this weekend. After my recent writing time drought, it is wonderful to be writing again.

My local writer buddies and I try to have a retreat like this each spring and sometimes in the fall as well, when the weather is often pleasant and we don’t have to pay peak season rates.

Non-writers somehow get the idea that we’re just there to party but they couldn’t be more wrong. We socialize and share our progress over meals and in the evenings (when the DVDs with gorgeous men come out). But in between, we immerse ourselves in our stories, only coming out for the occasional thinking walk or paddle (sometimes we get a canoe or kayaks).

Sometimes I come out with a new or expanded outline and sometimes with oodles of new pages. I always come out with renewed energy to finish the mess-in-progress.

Have you ever gone on a retreat, for writing or some other purpose? What are your favorite ingredients for a successful retreat? Anyone else doing something fun this weekend?


P.S. This picture is of a sunrise from the deck of the house we rented last spring. Sometimes the muse doesn’t sleep!

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