The time has come to write

Joe’s Post #141

retreatA writing retreat, you say? How can we 5/5/5 make this a success?

Silk outlined her research. Paula has her hosting planned out. We have pets to keep us company. We even have an agenda of sorts. Our agenda even has some writing planned.

But the real question is can we capture the magic of writing, again.

Or is that impossible?

I think it is. I won’t lie. However, do you need writing magic to write or can you replace it with something else? Like replacing coffee with green tea? Or the Coke with New Coke?

My solution… replace the magic with routine. I managed to get a novella of 37,000 words written in a month by simply putting my somewhat large butt in my somewhat comfy chair and pounding out the words. I know in the grand scheme of things, that’s not super impressive, but that’s more writing than I’ve done in a long time.

So on this retreat, I’m going to go with what worked. Get up about 7. Get coffee. Start writing. Stop for lunch. Maybe stop before that to pee. Go for walk. Write. Look at the pretty world for a bit. Write. Stop for supper. Eat something vaguely healthy. Read. Go to bed at a decent time. (If I write past about 7, then I get all writer-ie in my head and I can’t shut off my brain enough to sleep.)

In the meantime, 9 things to avoid while on a writer’s retreat. (Cuz I couldn’t think of 10 due to a lack of conviction on following through with #3.)

Avoid….. negative calvin and hobbs

  1. Negative people. We all have enough negative voices in our heads, we don’t need them personified in our writing space.
  2. Watching TV. The opiate of the masses. Aka my favorite thing to do. When time is precious and writing time scarce, there’s simply no time for the Simpsons.
  3. Drinking (a lot). Why? Once upon a time, I could drink and still be a functioning adult (though candid pictures of me may show otherwise). It’s not like I get all Hemingway-ish and suddenly find my muse after one drink. No. I find a pillow and start to snore – and I’ve found I cannot write in my sleep.
  4. Gaming. No Clash of Clans. No Candy Crush. No FIFA 2015. Sacking someone’s town hall in CoC will not get me published and I may even be sacking the town hall or an agent or editor. Luckily, though, I go by the name of SeanSommerville69, so I’m tanking someone else’s career.
  5. Eating too much food. Very similar to too much alcohol, minus the dancing on the table and singing My Sharona until the bouncers throw me out. Too much food makes we want to do #2.
  6. Shopping. No heading out for new shoes, new iPhones or new appliances. No buying dog toys, waterguns or new, non-stick pans. No looking at cars, dresses or houses. Just say no to shopping until you get back.
  7. Spaghetti sauce and white shirts. Trust me on this. Either don’t bring a white shirt, or don’t eat spaghetti with sauce. If you do, you’ll run out of clean shirts and that leads to either having to go shopping, spending time cleaning the damn shirts or having to eat your oatmeal topless.
  8. Facebook. It’s the work of the devil, anyway. If you can’t give it up, then limit it.
  9. Fear. Fear feds doubt. Makes it fat. Doubt then sits on your shoulder and poops all over you. Just let the fear go, have some fun. Write.

Will we be able to find a way back to writing? I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you at 8pm, we’re sitting with our laptops open, some of us are muttering to ourselves, but all of us are pounding away on our keyboards.

Stories are being created. Characters developed. Worlds built.

What better way to start?

Surrey Writer’s Conference Act 1 – Scene 2

Joe’s Post #57

siwcYou’d think there wouldn’t be any problems yet. I mean, hey, the darned conference doesn’t start for me until tomorrow. But I am me and problems sometimes swarm around me like angry flies around decaying meat.

First challenge: I can only get one interview with an agent ahead of time. I can get 1 more by standing in line. And I want to see or talk to about eight. Six for sure. So that leaves four to six I’m going to have to hunt down.

surrey barSo I looked at where they’d be. In workshops? On panels? In the bar? (Sadly, and perhaps dishonestly, no one said they’d be in the bar, but I have to think, if I had to listen to a whole bunch of introvertie writers like me pitch books all day, I would probably buy the bar).

I found all of them were in workshops but one. That’s great. But when I wrote down the schedules in pretty colors, I found that most of them were speaking in different rooms at the same time. Or, worse, three were on a panel together. Hard for me to march up and stand in front of the table and spread my arms wide and say, “Yo, what’s up? Wanna hear a pitch?” So I will have to make some tough choices. I may not be able to speak to a couple of them. But which ones?

Which ones indeed? That’s the second challenge. Do I forego the editor from a respected publisher? Do I chance meeting a newly minted agent from a outstanding agency in the hallway? Can I clone myself in time to be at two places at the same time?

Oh how I wish my writing friends were going with me. We could break those workshops up and find a way for everyone to meet everyone.

So simple.

Yet this year it’ll just be me. Justjoe. So decisions will have to get made. I may have to fast-pitch someone then sprint (which is, in itself, a funny thing to watch) and then fast-pitch the next person before they can flee to the safety of a bathroom.

It’ll all take planning and a little luck.

But I hate the unknown. I would rather be able to line up everyone if they have free time and sit and chat with them. I can do the chat thing. It’s the pitching on the fly that’ll be a bit of a challenge and god help me if the agents and editors have learned to walk fast!

However, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I have charts. I have schedules. I have notes. I have my business cards. I have a great book I can’t wait for others to read.

Oh crap, I just realized I need to iron a shirt. Gotta go. Stay turned. First scheduled pitch is at two, but I hope to blog before that (or cry after that).