Tag Archives: writing retreat

Advice for Writers

photo 5Last summer, at the Writing Yoga® Retreat that I host with my colleague Stefanie Lipsey, I learned something that some might say, “No, duh!” to, but that I’d kind of forgotten. It was during one of our afternoon yoga sessions, and Stefanie was leading the yoga. She reminded us to focus on what was happening on our own yoga mat. That is to say, it didn’t matter if the person next to me could balance on one foot while wrapping their other foot behind their head, all while humming a satisfying OM to the universe, while I might be struggling to figure out which way to turn my head, where to place my hand, and how my foot happened to get where it is. Yoga isn’t a contest. It’s not a competitive sport. When I focused on what was happening on my own mat, not only was it a much more pleasant experience, but I was able to achieve the tasks I set for myself there.

Similarly, writing isn’t a competitive sport. “What?,” you might ask, “How can that be?!” Because your writing isn’t going to keep improving if you don’t keep your focus on your own work. Measuring yourself against other writers won’t make your writing any better or worse. Putting others down or putting yourself down in comparison to others also won’t change how you write. What will change how you write is writing and reading.

So, if you’re not a write every day kind of writer, that’s ok. If you’re a plotter or a *pantser, that’s ok. If you only write during the summer, that’s ok. If you can’t read in your genre while you’re in the midst of a manuscript, that’s ok. If you need to eat mini marshmallows while you write, that’s ok. However it works for you is ok. Keep your concentration on what’s happening on your own “yoga mat.” In that way, you’ll know what you need to focus on next and it might be a more pleasant experience.

*a “pantser” is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, as opposed to outlining a whole plot beforehand.

What’s one bit of advice you’d like to give other writers? What’s one bit of writing advice that made a difference for you?

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Spring is in the air! What I’ll be doing on my summer vacation…

urlWhat will you do with your summer vacation? It’s not too early to plan. I swear I saw a sprig of green outside, just the other day (before the temperature dropped back down int0 the 20’s). Spring is officially here this week, folks! Which means it will start getting warm soon. And the days will get longer. And walks about town, or through the woods, or with your dogs, or to the store, might actually be pleasurable. As spring looms in the very near future, I can’t help but think about summer. Because sometimes I have difficulty being in the moment, and also because I like to have a plan. Summer is one of my favorite times of year (in my top 4). Publishing slows down a bit, so I get to take some time off, I read a ton, and I try to nurture myself. Here are two of the things I’m planning for the summer:

I’m going away. To write. That’s right. To write my own writing because I’m a writer. I need to take myself all the way out of my life to do this, because as you might know, I’m also an agent. 🙂 It’s not like I stop agenting when I focus on my own writing though. It’s just that I allow my own creative urges to move up a little on the hierarchy of what I’m set out to accomplish on a given day. And this summer I’ll be doing that in an exotic locale.

I’m running another Writing Yoga® Retreat with my buddy Stefanie Lipsey. Last year’s retreat was so lovely. We lead a small group of writers for the weekend in exploring a work in progress, getting our butts on the yoga mat, and finding connections between the two. We also had a lot of fun, laughed a lot, shared our work, made new friends, gossiped with some big time editors, and generally got rejuvenated and inspired. You can read a little bit about last year’s retreat here, here and here. If you’re considering attending this year’s retreat (August 14-17) please apply soon. Registration ends on March 31st, and if we don’t get enough participants we will have to cancel. You don’t need to be any particular level of writer, just committed and actively writing. Last year’s retreat included both agented and un-agented, published and unpublished participants. If you need more information, feel free to email questions.

So, what will you be doing this coming summer?

 

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Writing in 2014: Some Things You Might Want to Do

timemanagementThere are so many things I’m looking forward to in 2014! I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve cooked up, because they require planning and calendars and time management and stuff, and I don’t want folks not to be able to participate in something because they didn’t have enough time to work it out.

First of all, I’m having a client retreat at the end of January, which I’m totally psyched for. Obviously this isn’t open to everyone but I wanted to tell you about it anyway. Some of my clients (from all over the country!) are joining me for a weekend of inspiration, socializing, workshopping, writing, face time with their agent, and general merry-making! I. Can’t. Wait.

imagesSecondly, I’m offering an 8-week class, Workshopping Your Novel, in my Long Island home office, beginning in February. There is both a morning class and an evening class, to accommodate folks’ different schedules and needs. With only 5 people in each class, you’re guaranteed close attention. If you’re looking to put some structure into your writing life, this is a great opportunity. You’ll be committing to producing 5 pages a week for group critique. Plus, I’ll serve coffee (in the morning) and (herbal) tea (in the evening)! If you have questions or concerns about whether this is for you, that aren’t answered here, just email me.

yoga-positions_b4syex5vrkThirdly, I’m very pleased to be offering the second annual Writing Yoga Retreat this summer with my colleague Stefanie Lipsey, the creator of Writing Yoga®. I intend to blog some more about where yoga and writing meet (for me), so I won’t go into that now, but if this even remotely interests you, I recommend you check out the website and register soon. This is a small retreat (15 people tops) and people have already begun to register, even though it’s not until August. Don’t get shut out of this amazing opportunity!

I’m still working on filling my writing conference calendar for 2014, so if you belong to SCBWI or another writing organization and would like me to visit, please get in touch soon. I really love going to conferences, meeting with writers, teaching breakouts and speechifying!

So 2014, here I come!

 

 

 

 

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