Planning the 2015 Writing Yoga Retreat

photo 5This winter’s been kind of brutal. Although not as bad as last winter, I’m still very much looking forward to the changing of the seasons and the coming of some warmer weather. And warmer weather, to me, means planning the Writing Yoga® Retreat! My colleague Stefanie Lipsey and I were in a meeting at The Glen Cove Mansion last week, working on some of the planning for this coming summer’s retreat, and as we walked around I couldn’t help but think about how far she and I have come in just a few short years. Stefanie and I had talked for years about running a retreat for writers, and incorporating yoga. Stefanie had already created the Writing Yoga website and had started leading Writing Yoga workshops.

Then in 2013 we planned and ran our first Writing Yoga Retreat. It ended up being quite small, just 6 people, but it. was. fabulous! Last year we offered the retreat again, and we reached our goal of having 10 people register. We smoothed out some of the bumps from our first year, added a couple of things, and the result? Another fabulous weekend. This year we’ve capped our registration at 15 participants. Stefanie and I like leading to a small group, the intimacy of it, having the opportunity to interact with our participants one on one.

But instead of me blabbing on and on about how terrific I think the Writing Yoga Retreat is, let me share what two of last year’s participants had to say…

This is from Pete Magsig, a writer from Illinois:

I was listening to Lily Allen’s Sheezus the other day, which happened to be the album I bought before the workshop, and the total-bubblegum-pop song “Air Balloon” flashed me back to last year. I suddenly remembered that I had this crazy burst of creativity following the workshop. It was huge, and on all fronts: music, writing, programming, and making things. That’s worth it right there. But the weekend also affords me the opportunity to brush shoulders with the business of writing. The editors dinner makes the whole “getting published” thing real, and my sit-down with you, Linda, was invaluable. These are things I do not have access to in my own writer’s circles. Other memories: I really loved the “readings” dinner. The “get inside your character’s skin” exercise was memorable. Sitting around and just talking. And there was one moment on the last day when we were doing yoga inside that really unleashed some mind-body catharsis for me. You know, the more I think about it, the whole weekend pretty much rocked.

And this from children’s book author Lisa Rose:

A lot of times I feel like conferences and retreats are one big race to see how many people I can meet and impress to further my career. The Writing Yoga Retreat is the opposite. You make connections with people not because they have a title, a best-selling book, or an award, but because you share a common love of writing and also move through life as a yogi. Yoga means “to come together” and that’s what we do as writing yogis. It doesn’t matter what genre we are or how many poses we can or cannot do. We come together to support each other on the mat and on the page. We just know that we are better together.

I’m very proud of what Stefanie and I have created and I can’t wait for the weekend of July 9th! I’m looking forward to being with the returning participants as well as meeting new people. Will you be one of those people? For more information about the Writing Yoga Retreat, please go to our website writingandyogaretreat.com or you can email us with questions at writingyogaretrat@gmail.com.

The Glen Cove Mansion Writing Yoga Retreat 2015

The Glen Cove Mansion
Writing Yoga Retreat 2015

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Inside Scoop: Dish From a Literary Agent Intern… 5 Sites to Help You Write!

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Sometimes we need to get by with a little help from our friends; and sometimes our friends are bloggers, online publications, websites or just the internet in general. There is always something on the internet that can help you with whatever it is you need. Want to repurpose an old sock? *BAM* Google just found you 259,000 possible ways to do that. The purpose of my post this month (sorry to the fun-loving sock lovers) is to share some blogs and sites that may be helpful to writers. Here are 5 websites I found to be all around good, useful sites.

  1. Stacked – This blog caters to writers who are more interested in what is going on in the literary world. They not only review books themselves, but they also round up other reviews and overviews. You can send them your manuscript for review (no ebooks), which they will choose to post at their discretion. For a writer looking for feedback it never hurts to give it a shot.
  2. Authonomy – This site is run by HarperCollins and I think it’s a really great way to bring writers and readers together in a forum that is rewarding for all. It allows writers to upload a manuscript for others to read and get feedback on. It also gives you the chance to be featured on their homepage, based on how many views your manuscript might get. You can also get the chance to be published by HarperCollins if your manuscript does really well on the boards. The feedback and community that is built within the site allows for growth and connections for an aspiring writer.
  3.  The Write Life  – This site is a jack-of-all-trades. Not only do they write helpful articles on how to improve your writing, but they also can connect you with freelance writing positions, self-publishing and publishing opportunities, where to find critique partners for your work, and so much more.
  4. Wattpad – On this site, readers and writers come together in a community to share their work. Like Authonomy, if your story does well on the boards, there’s a chance it will be featured on the site. It seems to connect writers to readers more than anything else though. If you are looking for a place to just share your work and aren’t looking for major critiques and feedback, this site seems good. It looks especially good for people who want to get their creativity out there in an open forum. It can also probably help in building a following as an author.
  5. Worthy of Publishing - This site is a little more straightforward than the other sites. It’s not filled with some of the other amenities the sites listed above have. You just post to the site for feedback, get rated, and possibly get picked up by a publisher. That’s all. It is a forum for people who are looking for feedback or for those who feel they are “worthy” to get published.

I know it can be difficult and defeating sometimes but I think getting more connected, continually reaching out to different forums and communities, and allowing yourself to be open to critique can help you on your journey. Send me some of your favorite writing sites in the comments below!

Kim Photo BioKimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. She also interns at the National Association of Professional Women. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.

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Quick Questions: An Interview with Executive Editor Lisa Yoskowitz

 

Lisa YoskowitzLisa Yoskowitz is an Executive Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she edits middle grade and YA fiction from authors including Pseudonymous Bosch and Melissa Marr. She recently joined LBYR from Dutton Children’s Books and Disney-Hyperion, where she had the pleasure of working with New York Times bestselling authors Cinda Williams Chima, Victoria Laurie, and Elizabeth Wein; along with many fantastic debut authors, including Tamara Ireland Stone (Time Between Us), Michael Fry (The Odd Squad: Bully Bait), Tess Sharpe (Far From You), and Ami Polonsky (Gracefully Grayson). Drawn to voice- and character-driven stories, she has a soft spot for misfit, maverick, and mischief-making characters, and for books that can comfortably be called both literary and commercial. She is not able to consider unagented/unsolicited submissions.

And now to our questions!

What book has come out in the past year that you wish you’d been the editor on? Why?

I don’t know if it’s fair to say I wish I’d been the editor of El Deafo by Cece Bell (because surely the process of Cece and her editor working together contributed to the stellar finished product!), but it is definitely one of my favorite reads of the past year and a book I deeply admire for its originality, emotional honesty, brilliant storytelling, pitch-perfect voice, and powerful narrative.

What’s something you’d like to tell aspiring authors, that perhaps they haven’t yet heard from anyone?

I’m afraid that my advice for authors who hope to have their work published might not be original, but I do think it holds true: (a) write to your passions and be true to your characters and story—chasing trends or forcing yourself to write in a particular way because you think it will get you published often results in inorganic, unappealing storytelling; (b) when you finish your manuscript, put it in a drawer—metaphorical or literal—for a few days or weeks and read it with fresh eyes. Revise and repeat until you have the manuscript you love and feel is ready to submit to agents; (c) approach every critique, editor/agent meeting at conferences, and even rejection as a learning experience. Be open minded and truly listen to and synthesize feedback and writing/publishing advice from those in the field and/or whose opinions you respect.

If you could travel back in time for one day, where would you go, what would you do, who would you hang out with?

I’d visit Krakatoa right before it erupted in 1883, to spend a day with Professor William Waterman Sherman, his diamond-discovering friends, and their houses of wonders. Wait, The Twenty-One Balloons was nonfiction, right? :-)

If you won 50 million dollars, what would you do? Would you still work in publishing?

I’d like to think that I’d give a bunch to charity, buy a modest place in the City, save whatever is left, and stay in publishing (I do love my job a lot!), but I wouldn’t mind finding out for sure…

What’s currently on your manuscript wish list? What’s definitely not on the list?

I’m open to any manuscript with a voice and characters that grab you and don’t let go. That said, I’m not looking to acquire new picture books at the moment, and am especially on the lookout for a pitch-perfect middle grade puzzle book in the spirit of The Westing Game and epic middle grade fantasy that feels fresh.

 Thanks for participating, Lisa!

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