While many of my writing friends are cyber friends, conference friends, and RWA Chapters friends, I am fortunate to have several local friends. One of which I have know since my salad-days when I served on the board of the Pomona Valley Writers' Association.
Several years ago the three of us decided to take a brain-storming retreat in order to take our writing and careers a step further. We also wanted to reward ourselves for hard-won accomplishments, to to celebrate our successes.
I kept a journal of what went on. I can't say the structure (or lack there of) will work for every critique group, or circle of writing friends, but it worked for us.
Creating your own Writing Getaway.
- Divide up the duties. The location, schedule, food, and spa, All require planning. There were three of us. We each emailed each other with update and choices.
- Secure the location. The room needs to be large enough but must also fit everyone's budget.
- Rough-out a schedule. One person should be a time keeper. We worked in two-hour increments with breaks in between. That way we could focus on one person's story. This helped because discussions can become rather tense and we needed a break.
- Parameters and Goals. Everyone should state what she/he needs to come away with. There will be homework. I plot using The Writer's Journey, Pam is a GMC devotee, and Bev is a seat-of -your-pants writer. Of course there were empty spaces in our plots but we all had the Beginning, Middle, and End sort-of figured out.
- Be honest--not brutal.
- Enjoy. Life is all about the journey.
So were did we meet up? Since we all live in southern California, we took a discount flight to San Francisco (an hour away) and stayed in a quaint little hotel down town. We were able to walk a couple of miles to a cafe with great local fair (minus the tourist prices). The next morning, hopped a cable car to the Fisherman's Wharf to gain some some plotting time while view the bay.
Our weekend was the most rewarding getaway I've done for myself since I sold my first novel. I recommend a retreat to anyone who can find the time. You don't need to fly to get there. Though I am not an enthusiastic camper, I can pitch a tent and unwillingly sleep on the ground. Or, book a room at a local bed and breakfast during off season.
End result? We each finished the plotting out our novels and had a good working knowledge of our characters quirks and goals. And a deeper friendship too.
Happy Writing & Reading!
|The Franciscan--our final night in town.|
Remember, I'm not a 'camping' kinda girl :-).