Alright, everyone and their cat wants to know how the freaking fantabulous Madcap’s Aspiring Writer Retreat was. Now I won’t (and can’t, because I’m famous for my crap memory) share all the presentations and writerly cheat codes they shared, but I can ramble about how cool it was and what it meant to me. Yay?
Well, first off, a list of the amazing published authors that were there: Maggie Stiefvater, Renée Ahdieh, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Sarah Henning, Justina Ireland, Myra McEntire, Julie Morphy, Natalie C. Parker, Carrie Ryan, Victoria Schwab, Courtney C. Stevens, and Brenna Yovanoff.
Every single one was amazing and had super freaking awesome things to say. From ideas, plotting, revising, critiquing, characters, and world-building — you name the writing process, we probably talked about it.
It’s always fascinating to see how authors do things differently, no matter how many times I’ve read about revision or listened to podcasts about world building. There’s no one right way to do something. And as writing seems to be a constantly shifting puzzle of trying to find a right path to do the thing, seeing and learning so much from so many people was absolutely priceless even if I did know a lot of the concepts they covered. Because I don’t care how many years you’ve been writing, every good writer I know gets obsessed with a piece of the whole picture from time to time. Which is great for a while, but you need to remember what the core of writing is:
Being a creator, and telling that story.
Which was what this thing was all about, and what I totally needed.
You see, the next post on my blog was going to be a very ugly “I’m quitting writing” post. My finger’s been hovering over the “publish” button on that for a long time. It’s not that I’ve wanted to quit writing, it’s that I saw no other option with the hellish writing year I’ve had. I’m not going into details (you got lucky this time, non-existent audience), but I thought it was going to take a miracle to get me writing, and if I could’ve gotten a full refund for the retreat, I wouldn’t have gone.
Now, no miracles happened. I mean, Maggie’s cool and magical and all, but I think she was using all her innate powers keeping together that Nissan she bought while she was there (nope, not kidding). But the coolest thing about a retreat like this, even though there were forty-something odd people there, was that I got a lot of personal time talking to the authors and getting their opinions on things. Specifically the ugly little varmints running around my mind lately. And just like how everyone has a different way of writing things, everyone had different advice for me. Weirdly, it was all on point.
I’ve got a lot of thinking and work to do, but I’m going to try some things out. I’m not giving up yet because I love it too much to let it go. And I’ve inherited being as stubborn as a rock from my mom (thanks, mom).
So yep. The food was fabulous, the sessions were amazing, the location was beautiful, and the writers were the freaking best. Then when it was over we set boxes on fire and we took some of the ash home to perform writing rituals and it was great.
If you can, I totally recommend going to one of these things. I would be all over the next thing Madcap does (they don’t have it on their site yet, but you can sign up for the newsletter for when they do) except for, you know, being dead broke after this one. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t want to play a game of giant (Court) Jenga?