Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Greetings From Branson!

So, if you've been wondering where I've been the last week, I've been (and still am in) Branson for the AWESOMEST WRITING RETREAT EVER. I don't say this to gloat or make you feel bad, but to encourage you to get together with your writer friends for a few days and just hang, because it is amazing.

Writing retreats are awesome, not because of the inside jokes you come away with, but because you get to spend time with people who get you. People who don't think it's strange that the first thing you do in the morning is turn on the coffee pot and the computer, rather than shower. People who don't judge you when it's 5pm and you're still in your pajamas. People who aren't afraid when you talk about the voices in your head. It really doesn't get better than that.

I honestly can't explain how awesome it is to sit down to write and hear nothing but the soft click of fingers on the keyboard and see this:

(Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff)

(Kiersten White - below Freddy The Moose - not pictured)

(Victoria Schwab, Sarah Darer Littman, Julia Karr, Jessica Spotswood)

Not only is it inspiring, but it's demystifying. NYT Bestselling authors sit down with their laptops and write, just like me. There's no magic, just hard work.

If there's any wisdom I can offer from my time here in Branson, it's that writers need time with other writers. It doesn't have to be far away at a lodge, or for a week, with 22 other writers. It can be a weekend in your backyard, the results will be the same -- a feeling of kinship that we miss sometimes when we're on the other side of computer monitors.

So go make your own retreat, or mini-retreat, or weekly sit down with another writer. It's so worth it! (And if you can get Maggie Stiefvater to come and bake you cookies from scratch, all the better!)

Don't miss the last live chat from Branson! Tonight at 8pm EST at:

You'll be able to ask questions and hear answers from:
- Maggie Stiefvater (LINGER, FOREVER, BALLAD)
- Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)
- Jeri Smith-Ready (SHADE, SHIFT)
- Dawn Metcalf (LUMINOUS)


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks for giving us the behind-the-scenes peek, Valerie. I've enjoyed the live chats so far, but tonight I'm live with my crit partners (so that's bittersweet--missing one, but reveling in the other).
I can't tell you how much I liked learning that other people turn on the computer first thing when they get up. I've felt a bit sheepish that I stumble to my computer before all else.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, I am so envious! I would love to participate in a writing retreat like that one day. :-)

Melissa Gill said...

What a cool experience. I hope to attend a retreat someday soon. Thanks for sharing.

All Adither said...

That would be a dream come true for me. Maybe one day...

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm glad you've had such an amazing experience. I can't wait to attend my retreat in Oct., but that seems SO far away! :)

Anonymous said...

Um, that is so awesome I may puke. Twice. And I am totally planning a writing retreat (much more mini, but still full of writing and writers and awesomeness). For reals.

Thanks for the pictures!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

How awesome is that? And what a cozy looking place for a writers retreat. LOVE IT. :)

Thanks for sharing.

Tyhitia Green said...

Sounds like you're having a blast. Wow, wish I could have been there. ;-D

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