I just returned from Deborah LeBlanc's Pen To Press Retreat in New Orleans. Wowza. My master class was with author CJ Lyons, not only a wonderful author, but also an amazing teacher, joyful foodie and just a great, down-to-earth person. While I learned a lot from her, the most important thing to me was: the black moment is not the end. It's always followed by resolution. Then a new story.
That little nugget can be applied to any given WIP, finished manuscript, a writing career and life itself. Personally, it helped me know myself as a writer and what I want. It helped reignite my passion for storytelling, for the first book and beyond. And that understanding is priceless.
Earlier this year, I also went to TWRP retreat in the Texas Hill Country. That was amazing too because it drove home the message: writers write. Don't get me wrong: we went dancing, fossil hunting, attended craft-related talks, but also for hours people (including me) would just pull out their lap tops and start typing. Imagine a roomful of people, just typing. Uninterrupted soft clicks of keys and creativity. Amazing.
Yes both retreats cost money and time, meant work while others played, but the best part was connecting with other creative souls and getting re-energized. Writing is a tough business, and it can wear you out. This year I have treated myself to two wonderful gatherings and my soul needed it.
The end result: butt in chair, writing. And enjoying every minute.