It was hot. It was sticky. A few people had to bail because the humidity (no A/C) plus musty smells aggravated health problems. The doors stuck a little and the upstairs toilet had…issues.
I’m describing my adventures last weekend.
August 12-14, my chapter of Sisters in Crime held their annual “Escape to the Woods” writing retreat. It has been on hiatus for a couple years, replaced with a more formal, workshop-oriented structure. But this year, we returned to our roots. Just a weekend of writing. Nowhere to be, nothing specific to work on. Just us and our stories. Oh, and more food and wine than 12 women really need (but that’s another story).
And despite being held on the hottest weekend of the summer thus far, it was…amazing. I plunked down Saturday and didn’t move except for lunch. I probably wrote around 6,000 words (give or take). I haven’t done that in forever.
All around me, people were writing. People were hammering out plot problems. Brainstorming. Discussing the difficulties of romantic arcs. Scribbling notes. Taking walks in the woods.
And yes, plenty of wine, food, and chocolate was around (no, chocolate does not count in the food – chocolate is its own category, silly reader).
It was awesome.
That is the imaginative power of groups. You show up not really knowing what to expect. But just being around other writers–it gets the imaginative juices flowing. All of a sudden, the “what the heck am I doing in this story?” becomes “I got it – all I have to do is___” (fill in the blanks).
It’s said again and again. Writing is solitary. I mean, no one else can put the words on the screen for you. But anyone who thinks she can “go it alone” is gravely mistaken.
Because no matter how good your imagination, never underestimate the imaginative power of a group.