authors, life, Uncategorized, writing

Writers Retreat

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going away on writers retreat with some of my writing crew. These girls are AWESOME people, and it was an absolute pleasure to go and hang with them for a couple of days.

Of course, a weekend is never really enough. It disappeared far too quickly for my liking, and it was a bit too ‘whirlwind’ on arrival and departure.

I flew up to Auckland midday on Friday, leaving the kids at home with their Dad. My Dad picked me up and took me for a coffee while I waited for Leigh to arrive. Then we hung out in the pick up zone until her Step-Dad arrived, and then it was off to pick up TeeΒ and say hello to one of her daughters!

From there we went for dinner at Tee’s folks restaurant (the weekend really expanded our writer lives to include our families), and then headed over the harbour to Whangaparoa. Naturally, at this point, wine was consumed and we talked and talked and talked… though we couldn’t get properly started until the next day when the last of our group would arrive.

Saturday was definitely the best. Melissa and Brenda arrived about 10 and we launched into talk of business plans and marketing!

Seriously, unless you’ve had the opportunity before, you’ve got no idea how EPIC it is to spend, literally, hours just talking about writing and publishing. Everyone but me has at least one novel published, but I’ve edited or given feedback on a good portion of the books published, so I feel like I’ve got a fairly decent grip on things. I adored hearing about the many, varied things these women have lined up. The next 18 months or so look AMAZING, and I can’t wait to finally be out there publishing alongside them.

Sunday morning saw us all working away at various things. We had a large lounge to take over and there was writing, editing, critiquing, listening (Tee was proofing her audio book), all in relative silence, punctuated only by the occasional goal shout-out. And then just before 12 we packed ourselves into Mel’s car and headed back to the real world.

The rest of the day sucked. There were too many goodbyes, and it feels like way too long until I’ll get to see them all again in the flesh – thank heavens for the internet though! At least we have something.

So, lessons learned over the weekend?

A writers retreat really needs to be more than a weekend! I think we need at minimum, a day and a half for talking, followed by at least the same for working, and probably half for winding things down – I could easily do more. If we have longer, we may even venture out of the house at some point over the weekend πŸ˜‰

Sharing your business plan, and hearing other peoples is incredibly motivational and inspirational. I felt really validated and encouraged after sharing mine, and inspired after listening to everyone elses. You can learn a lot from other people, so take those opportunities when you can get them.

Once a year is not enough! Escaping from the real world to indulge in writing is a real treat and I wish I could do it more often. I’m going to try and make an effort to at least get some more uninterrupted writing time in the near future as I’ve been reminded how much that feeds my souls.

Finally, possibly the two most important things it confirmed (for me): THIS – writing – is what I’m most passionate about outside of my family. Right now everything else (like study) is a barrier to what I truly want to be doing. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to try and do the things I ‘should’ do, when the thing I am called to has such a loud voice and tempts me constantly.

And, having a bunch of supportive writer friends (not just counting the ones I was away with, but everyone else as well) is a huge advantage and something I could not do without. They make everything writing related better and I’m truly blessed to have so many kick-ass friends.

Have you ever been on writers retreat? Any tips or hints? I think it’s going to be in my town next time and I’m already planning possibilities πŸ˜‰

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Uncategorized

Mocha Nihilism – my intentions

I’m about halfway through my rewrite of Mocha Nihilism (still, but getting back to it now!), and after reading this post by the lovely Linda, I’ve made a decision and I wanted to publicly declare it.

I’m going to self publish the novella.

It’s something I’ve contemplated for awhile, and I think a novella is the perfect way to dip my toes into the self publishing world. Very soon I am going to have a really fun, enjoyable novella complete and ready for an audience. Initially I’d planned simply to give this to some of my friends and family for a Christmas present, Β but it seems like an awful waste to limit it’s audience like that.

So I read Linda’s post, then had a look around at e-publishers and print markets to see if there was anywhere it might fit. The markets are limited, and really? Most E-publishers aren’t offering great royalties, you have to do the bulk of the marketing yourself anyways, I might as well retain full creative control and do it all. I am not afraid of being accountable for the outcome, whether it’s positive or negative – in fact, either way, it’s a learning curve and I’ll get SOMETHING out of the process.

So there we have it. I’m excited by the prospect of having something more substantial than a short story out in the world, available to the masses. I’ve got a lot of work to do before it’s ready to launch, but the pieces seem to be falling into place. I have ideas for the cover, and a willing model to help me bring it to life, ideas about promotion and marketing – it really is exciting. I’ve made the decision to go e-book only, and realize I am thereby cutting out many friends and family who only do print books – but that’s a choice I can live with.

What about you? Ever thought of self pubbing? I am still going to try the traditional route with my next novel, but in the meantime, it’s really very exciting to be doing something towards getting my words in the hands of others.