In episode 8, Melissa and Jeni talk about their recent experiences at two very different kinds of writers' retreats. Listen in...EPISODE 8 Writing Retreats.
Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! I’m Melissa Koberlein, an author and professor of publishing, and she’s Jeni Chappelle, a freelance novel editor.
Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice.
On this episode:
We’re talking about writers’ retreats
End with an author tip of the week
Here's the Q&A
Let’s talk a little bit about the writers’ retreats we attended in June.
Jeni: I attended a writing retreat as faculty. This was a week-long retreat that was structured for a large group--workshops in the morning, several hours of writing time in the afternoon, and everyone had the opportunity for critiques and consultations with the faculty members. Then after dinner there were some activities for those who wanted to participate. Writers had a lot of time for writing but also got the benefits of interacting with industry professionals. And the best part is that it was held at this country inn that had farm animals! They had horses you could ride, and a petting zoo with goats, chickens, and the cutest little pig I’ve ever seen.
Melissa: I went on more of a ‘writing’ retreat. It was self-planned, designed for writers to get away from their everyday tasks and duties and simply write. Mine was only a couple days long. Since it was my first time attending a retreat, I didn’t want it to be too long in case it turned out to be a disaster. There were three of us on the retreat, and we rented a cabin in the woods on Lake Monroe in the Poconos. Pity none of us were writing horror. The fog on the lake was very eerie. You can see the pictures on the blog. It was very peaceful, although it was overcast and raining the entire time. One of the authors was revising a contemporary YA novel, the other was drafting an adult fantasy, and I was working on Ashwater 2, a sci-fi romance YA novel.
What was our favorite parts about our retreats? Least?
M: My favorite part about my retreat was the food. I’m only partly kidding. The one nice thing about the kind of retreat I went on was that we were able to pack our own food. So, we decided that before we got there that what we all essentially needed was time away from the ‘real world’ to write/revise. So, we decided that we wouldn’t leave our cabin. So, we brought lots of fruit, cheese, etc. to snack on throughout the day. We also planned some meals together so that when we weren’t focused on our work, we could chat. My least favorite part about the retreat was that it was not nearly long enough for me. I’m realizing that I take a lot of time to acclimate to new environments. My best writing session was the morning we were leaving!
J: My favorite part was being immersed in writerly goodness. I love talking to people about their passions, and that’s what I got to do all week! And there’s this moment when a writer sees their story in a new way where there eyes light up. I don’t get to see that in person very often, and my days were filled with that. The writers who attended were all lovely, and only seeing these people for the whole week really brought us all together. My least favorite part was the drive home. I had so much fun, but as soon as I knew it was over, my introvert side kicked in and I was ready to be home!
What advice would you give to writers looking to go to a retreat?
M: Make a plan beforehand. Where will you be staying? What will you be eating? How much time will you have to write/edit/etc.? Also, know what you are looking to get out of the retreat--set goals for yourself. Lastly, know your own process. Will that work with the retreat you’re planning or wish to attend. I hear there’s a great writers’ retreat in Ireland. ;)
J: I totally agree with all of that, Melissa. When you’re going into something more structured like mine was, I’d also say have a plan for some down time. Don’t try to fill every moment, even with writing. Part of going on retreat is about reconnecting with your creativity, and sometimes that means doing nothing.
Tip of the week
Indie author tip: If you haven’t already, check out BookFunnel. It’s a great tool for marketing. They will create a reader magnet for you to help boost your mailing list, deliver ARCs for you, and more. They’re relatively reasonable with pricing and you can choose what tier best works for you. Remember: the mailing list is essential for indie authors.
On our next podcast, we are talking about prologues. AND, get ready for something really fun as we try out a new format with video! We will also have another Tip of the Week. And don’t forget where to find us! Find our podcast at indiechicks.net or follow us on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on iTunes. Please rate us! You can follow us on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or Facebook.com/TheIndieChicks.
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Indie Chicks out.