A lot of conferences are held in fairly personalityless hotels that drain your energy by their very sameness to every other hotel out there.
Not so a retreat.
A retreat is meant to help you relax, rejuvenate, reconnect.
It’s not overscheduled.
It’s not attended by people you feel pressured to impress.
It’s a time to grow.
It’s about great food…
A time to nurture the friendships you already have…
…and a time to make new ones.
If you’re lucky, it is held in a place with admirable weather…
…attention to detail…
…and a sense of history.
For two years now, the WFWA Writing Retreat has been held at the marvelous Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town.
For four days I’ve lived outside — most of my meals and all of my writing time has been spent under sunny blue skies, with the occasional 2-minute sprinkling of rain, followed by soaring rainbows. But the inside’s gorgeous too.
The party may be over for 2016, but I’m not too sad.
Because I know that in one short year I will be back.
This is a photo of a very small bit of spider web on the outside of one of my office windows. I think it once held an egg sack. It’s been there a long time. I don’t clean my windows often.
As I was looking at it today I really noticed the points at which it attached to the glass. They made me think of synapses in the brain or a wild session of mind-mapping or brainstorming. They made me think of connections — the connections I’ve made and will strengthen with fellow members of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association as I pack my bags for our second annual writers retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which starts later this week!
Spider silk is incredibly strong, and the connections writers can make with each other as we discuss the craft, share business strategies, and just have a great time together are strong. They make what can be a solitary pursuit into the best kind of party — one with great food and drink, great company, and no pressure. You want to sit in a corner and just observe? Great! You want to have a deep one-on-one conversation? You got it! You want to bare your soul in a small group of sympathetic listeners? Go right ahead! You want to dance on the table? Er, fine…but you do realize you’re in a room full of writers, right? You don’t really want to end up in everyone’s next novel. Not that way.
When I got on the plane home last year, I was so happy to be coming back home to my boys, but I wasn’t really ready for that amazing retreat to end either. So I am thrilled to be going back again this year. Lists are being made, bags are being packed, rides are being secured…and I’d appreciate your prayers for good health (after battling food poisoning this weekend) and safe travels.
Can’t wait to share my trip with you in the coming weeks!
From late Wednesday night to late Sunday morning, I had the very good fortune to be at the first (hopefully annual) Women’s Fiction Writers Association Retreat, held at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town in New Mexico. I wrote the first five chapters of a new novel, took notes for a short story that was inspired by a very kind and attentive member of the hotel staff, and prepared my workshop for the Breathe Writers Conference coming up in October. I met dozens of lovely, talented, and dedicated women (and one charming man) who write women’s fiction, some of whom I have been online friends with for a couple years. I felt the spell of the Southwest come over me like invigorating sunshine. And on this cloudy, rainy Monday morning back in Lansing, I’m fondly remembering a truly marvelous weekend. I didn’t bring my good camera, so these are just from my phone. Next time, I’ll know to bring the camera. 🙂