Déja vu all over again

fresh-perspective

Silk’s Post #103 — I love new beginnings. For some people, the year begins on January 1. Others are in tune with Spring as a time of rebirth. I was a Halloween baby, so for me the year has always started with autumn. It’s a new cycle and we’re on the start line once again.

Our 5Writers mini-retreat in Vancouver last week was a perfectly timed re-start for me. If you’ve ever belonged to a writers group – or any kind of small-scale, informal professional circle – you’ll know how this kind of support and encouragement kindles new enthusiasm for your work and kicks your energy up a notch.

And there’s nothing like a new challenge to wake up the competitive spirit. As a group, we have just embraced an ambitious common goal to write and self-publish five new books. If “competitive” seems like an inapt word to describe our cooperative efforts, it’s used deliberately. As unpublished authors, we’re a bit like a team that’s training together. We egg each other on. Put any five people on the same track – whether they’re running or writing – and the natural competitive human spirit turns it into a race. At the same time, we have an unwritten rule, born of our mutual respect and loyalty: Leave No Writer Behind. So it’s a genteel “race” of 5 cooperative competitors designed to produce 5 winners.

Over the next months, this blog will be sharing our brave new journey. It’s less brash than our original 5Writers challenge to write 5 novels in 5 months two years ago. In 2012 we set out at a furious gallop, hell bent for leather. Yee-haw! It was a terrific exercise and we learned a lot from it – about writing, and about ourselves.

I’m one of the two who didn’t finish the novel I started for that challenge. I may finish it one day because I love the characters and I think it has potential, but it’s a book that was conceived to fit that 5Writers challenge. It’s not the book I absolutely must write – at least not right now.

This new challenge is different. I like to think we’ve matured together as writers. Life has thrown us all many changes over the past couple of years. Our nice comfy schedule of meeting once a month or so for critiques is out the window, with two of the five now spending winters in the desert, three going through house moves in the last year, and one taking up Dad duties with his wonderful new family.

We’re all very aware of life’s ticking clock. It’s time to get more serious about writing – and publishing. Even if that means doing it for ourselves. No Cinderella stories have been forthcoming – what a surprise! So we’re not waiting for someone to knock on the door with a glass slipper in hand. But I think we’ve become realists about what we can accomplish as indie writers, and how much work and time we will need to (and are able to) put into it.

Here’s the box score from our lively review last Friday of our 5 book concepts:

  • 5Writers who had completed a full synopsis for review: 1
  • 5Writers who completely switched what book they’re planning to write after review: 2
  • 5Writers who are contemplating major changes to characters after review: 1
  • 5Writers who are now at work on new synopses: 4
  • Fabulous Thai dinners consumed during retreat: 1
  • Fabulous fellow bloggers who joined us for said dinner: 2 (Alison and Don of Adventures in Wonderland, the first time most of us had met these superstars in person!)

Onward!

Helga and super supportive husband Emil

Helga and husband Emil

Don and Joe

Don and Joe

Paula and Silk

Paula and Silk

Karalee and Alison

Karalee and Alison

Alison and Don

Alison and Don

 

6 thoughts on “Déja vu all over again

  1. Best wishes o your adventure Silk. I know that you will reap and weep both. It is a good thing to have the company of challenging cohorts, and your bravery is always going to show up in your writing.

    • Thanks for the kind words! Reap and weep is a great way to put it. One thing I learned in business is that you learn more from your failures than your successes, so hopefully we’re in a virtuous cycle and will be helped on our journey by our learnings of the past.

  2. Great new challenge. Yes it is different from the original 5writers challenge, but in a good way. It feels as if the original challenge was necessary (probably for many more reasons than I could possibly understand), but this one feels more real and more grounded. It feels as if there’s a deeper commitment behind it. I wish you all great good luck and happy writing.
    It was so good to finally meet you all, and I hope we can get together again soon with at least some of you before we leave Vancouver. Love the pics. And thanks for the shout out.
    Alison

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I agree this venture feels more grounded. I think the most important ingredient is the intent to self-publish, which means we’re going to be putting our books out there in the world for all to see. It shifts the focus, for me anyway, a bit away from the ticking clock and toward the quality of the writing. It’s one thing to type “the end” on deadline, but quite another to click “publish”!

  3. Appreciate you cheering us on JM! We all owe a debt of thanks to the indie writers who pioneered online self-publishing before us. What we’re hoping to do isn’t “novel” anymore (pardon the pun), but it’s plenty challenging anyway. I’m looking forward to it.

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