Nancy: Retreat, Recharge, and Reclaim Your Writing Mojo

This past weekend, I got to do one of my favorite writing things. I joined good friends (all writers, go figure) and had a writing retreat: two and a half days of working on my own stories, hearing about others’ work, sharing story (books, movies) recommendations, and discussing the ever-evolving publishing industry. Now all we need are house elves to deliver coffee and wine chairside, and we’ll have perfected the art of the writers’ retreat.

In the early days of the 8LW blog, I talked about my writing retreats with this particular group of writing friends. A few years later, I was lucky enough to gather with the other Eight Ladies in Arizona for a retreat of our own, which inspired me to share my top five favorite things about these outings (spoiler alert: number one on my list is bonding with fab friends). Now it’s 2017, time for our bi-annual reminder that writing retreats are an awesome thing, and if you are a writer as well as a joiner of any kind, getting out of your writing cave and spending time around real, live people might just be the thing to kick-start your creativity and reconnect you to the joy of writing.

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Jilly: Learning From Other People’s Stories

Learning From Other People's StoriesDo you enjoy deconstructing books, or movies, or TV programs, or your friends’ WIPs? Do you find it useful as well as enjoyable?

It’s been three weeks since I uploaded Dealing With McKenzie to the RWA Golden Heart contest website, and since then I haven’t looked at my completed manuscript or written a word of fiction. I made a deliberate decision to give myself the rest of January to reflect, regroup, and recharge my batteries before diving into Cam’s and Mary’s book.

I spent most of my mini-break learning from other people’s stories in various different ways: lots of reading, four fantastic days zooming around Arizona talking non-stop with Kat and Kay, a wonderful weekend brainstorming with the other Ladies at Justine’s house, and most recently judging Continue reading

Justine: Writer’s Retreat, A Newbie’s Guide, Part 2

There's no such thing as "too much chocolate" at a writer's retreat.

There’s no such thing as “too much chocolate” at a writer’s retreat.

As promised, I have a few notes from this weekend’s first annual Eight Ladies Writing Retreat, which I hope you can use to plan your own amazing writer’s weekend.

Overall, the weekend was fabulous. The weather cooperated, there was plenty for us to talk about, and we all had fun either seeing each other again or getting to know the Eight Ladies we’d yet to meet in person.

To piggy-back off of Nancy’s post about the five things she likes about a writer’s retreat, I’m going to share five things I learned hosting this one. Continue reading

Nancy: Top Five Favorite Things About Writing Retreats

A writer in desperate need of a retreat.

A writer in desperate need of a retreat.

As Justine told you last week, the 8 ladies converged on Arizona for a writers’ retreat this past weekend. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of writers’ retreats, as I posted here and here. This particular one was super special as I had only met two of the other ladies in person before this week, so this was my chance to meet and hang out with and just generally enjoy the time with the whole 8LW crew (including Michaeline via the magic of the interwebs!). But whether I’m retreating with the ladies or my small critique group  or my larger (former) writing group, wonderful things happen at these get-togethers. Today I’m sharing my favorite ones.

5. Binging on snacks/wine/decadent things of choice. Okay, maybe indulging sounds better, but whatever – this is what happens when you bring together writers and chocolate and coffee and wine in an atmosphere where calories don’t count. Don’t judge us – this writing gig is hard work and we need to fuel our brains. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Continue reading

Justine: Writer’s Retreat, A Newbie’s Guide, Part 1

eight ladies writing, justine covington, writer's retreat, writing retreat

Vintage Arizona postcard designed by USA Souvenir and sold on

Well, I’m on the precipice of my first writer’s retreat, and not only is it my first, but I’m hosting.

Nancy has done several writer’s retreats and I’ve talked to other writers who’ve done the same. The take-away is a great weekend of sharing, brainstorming, writing, relaxing, and indulging in every writer’s Magic Three: wine, chocolate, and coffee. Not necessarily in that order.

Although I’ve never attended a writer’s retreat before, I’ve put a lot of thought into what I should do and provide for my guests this weekend, which I’ll outline here.

Next week, I’ll revisit my plans and let you know what worked and what didn’t, so you can plan a stellar writer’s retreat of your own. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Time Off for Creativity

10359172_801013389909288_450977814948046604_nI spent the last week on vacation from my day job. No big trip, no schedule of activities, just nine days of being able to do whatever I wanted with no 6:30am alarm to kick start the day.  I had some basic things I wanted to accomplish – work on the book, , stare into space, continue restoring the hardwood floors in the old family house that we’re getting ready to sell – but mostly I just wanted to step back, take a breath, and see if I could coax my creativity out of hiding.

So, how did that work out? Continue reading

Nancy: When Writers Meet

Nancy 'Writing'

I’ve done it again.I’ve gone off on a writers’ weekend retreat and have come back with words on the page, titles on my to-be-read list, and enough inspiration to last until my next retreat.
I wrote about my last retreat several weeks ago. This one was with a different group of writer friends. In this group, we are more diverse in age and genres/writing interests, we have some non-fictioners in our midst, and we even have a few token males ;-). And there are other differences about the retreat itself. Instead of meeting at someone’s home, Continue reading

Nancy: In the Company of Writers

Writing is, for the most part, a solitary occupation. While many of us like it that way, even a happy writer can get tired of her talking to herself and the imaginary people in her head. That’s when Twitter and tumblr and blogs and online discussion threads come in handy. We can connect quickly and easily with tens, hundreds, even thousands of like-minded people in seconds. But that’s still no substitute for being in the same room with real live, breathing, coffee- (or wine- or Scotch-) swigging specimens known as other writers.

It’s for this reason that I am a very, very lucky writer indeed, because a few times a year, I participate in a fabulous endeavor: a writers’ retreat. Continue reading