I spent the weekend with writers in Minneapolis at the 4th Annual Storycrafters Retreat. It’s geared more for beginning writers, but after having done three advanced workshops in two years, I felt like I had learning gaps. Storycrafters was just the ticket. I knew it would be. It’s taught by the lovely, quirky, talented Susan May Warren.
I won’t bore you with all the details. You can find a lot of them at My Book Therapy,* the site Susan May founded to help people just like me. Maybe just like you, too! I will tell you that the venue was lovely and the staff bent over backwards to see that we had everything we needed. They may have been too efficient; I gained three pounds.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure, going in, that I was going to find the pieces I needed. I second-guessed spending the money, especially now, and if I hadn’t bought non-refundable airline tickets mere days before Eric got laid off, I would have cancelled altogether. Apparently, I was meant to be there because, in addition to getting what I needed, I was able to help a couple of the newer ladies with their plots and reassure them that they were supposed to feel overwhelmed and terrified! We get a lot of information in a short amount of time, so overwhelmed can’t be helped.
On the flight home, I scored a window seat, and as I stared blankly out the window trying to assimilate everything I’d learned over the weekend, I saw this:
It’s a line of lakes, I think, but up there, with the sun glinting off them, they looked like jewels scattered toward the horizon, like a trail leading to heaven. I’m not sure why exactly, but I felt like it was affirming that I am on the right track.
I know it’s never going to get easy. Writing is hard and gritty and not for the faint of heart or the thin of skin. It’s not for the lazy or easily offended, and most days, it’s really not even fun. It’s a job, and frankly, the pay stinks, at least at this point of the game for me. I’m not looking for easier; I’m looking for efficient. Maybe even faster. I’ve written three hot messes in three years. None of them are publishable. Yet. I have one more I’m going to write. The plan is to finish it this year, even though time is short and I’ve never written a book in two months with Thanksgiving company, graduation (Alex), holidays, and moving thrown in the mix. If I don’t get it done this year, I’ll re-evaluate. Either I’ll press on and get it done as fast as I can, or I’ll set it aside for a while and start rewriting a hot mess. I really feel like it’s going to be a smoother process this time. The one I just finished** was the easiest one yet, even though it still took a long time. Stay tuned for the ongoing saga.
*If you’re a writer, check out My Book Therapy. They have two levels of membership, and you can check out the paid membership level free for a week to see if you want to join.
**In case you missed it on Facebook, I finished “Building Truth” on Wednesday, just in time to pack for my trip! Mom, that’s the one we researched in Newport and the third of the hot messes. 😉