Tuesday, November 15

Writerly Fellowship

Right off, let me apologize for the technical difficulties last Tuesday--we came home from the lake and our Internet connection had disappeared. Go figure. Husband did a bunch of stuff that I confess was beyond me and we finally ended up calling in the experts at our ISP. The fixed it and gave us some hints to keep it from happening again, so we are all good now. Funny how my stomach dropped to my socks when we couldn't get on the Internet--I really saw how dependent I am on technology and I'm not sure I'm happy about that.

It was demonstrated to me again this past weekend at the writer's retreat Liz and I went to at Bradford Woods. The Manor House where we stayed had WiFi, but with twenty-one people trying to get on at the same time, it was choking now and again. A couple of times, I connected with my phone's hot spot, but honestly, I really tried not to worry about whether or not I could get online--it just didn't seem all that important or necessary.

Instead, I was Editor Nan for the whole weekend, hanging out my shingle for any writer who needed a copy editor. And what fun! I helped several people with their stories, answered writing mechanics questions, and engaged in lively discussions about house styles and why most publishers depend on the Chicago Manual of Style for answers to style questions. I'm a huge fan of CMS--it's a straightforward style guide that makes sense and is mostly user-friendly. The index is sometimes confusing, but all in all, it works and I like the consistency of styles across all my big-publisher clients.

The Retreat itself was enjoyable and I'm not saying that because Liz and I were in charge, honest! The weekend was simply laid-back fun--a group of writers hanging out together, eating and talking and writing and commiserating and celebrating. Each evening, we all gathered in the living room around a crackling fire and shared troublesome plot problems, heartbreaking rejections, and dreams for the future.

One interesting question that went around the room was, "Where do you want to be in your writing career five years from now?" To a person, the answers involved making big money as a novelist, which didn't surprise me one bit. We all hope to see our name on a best-seller list and on a large royalty check. But it was interesting how the confidence with which the dream was verbalized diminished with the age of the writer. At sixty-three, I'm not nearly as convinced that I'll be toasting my first time on the New York Times best-seller list as some of the younger writers were. I think realistically, just being able to make a living as a writer would be plenty of success for me.

All in all, the 2016 Retreat was a success and Liz and I were pleased everyone enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to next year's Retreat. Have a great Tuesday, everyone, and hey, just out of curiosity, where do you want to be in your writing career five years from now?


  1. Even with my own personal bittersweet feelings, it was a wonderful weekend and a great retreat!

  2. The retreat was awesome, because you and Luz are such gracious hosts and because every gal who came to it totally rocks! My answer to the question is a tongue-in-cheek quote of Alan Rickman's character in Die Hard: "...on the beach, earning twenty percent." (Even though I know a more realistic/hopeful goal is: breaking even)!

  3. sounds as if you all had a great time 'refilling the well'. Yay!!

  4. I was so sorry to miss the retreat! This has been a difficult year and other responsibilities are in the forefront right now. Hopefully I will be there next year.

  5. You guys had another retreat? I'm so jealous!

    My answer to the question where do I want to be in 5 years is still writing. I would be thrilled to make a decent part-time income from my writing. Of course I'd love to make millions, but I'm afraid that's in day-dream territory along with winning the lottery. In five years I hope to still enjoy writing as much as I do now.