Today was Author Brainstorm day for our crew of author ladies. Once a month. It's become our thing and we love it! Now, I'm taking the opportunity to talk about the benefits. Gatherings are energy-boosting, confidence-building, and lots of fun. Let's face it. Writing can be too solitary. Reaching out to connect with others who think like you and understand what you're experiencing is the best!
So, what is there about group gatherings to rave about? I'll answer that by sharing the details of my day:
9:00 am - Arrive at venue, grab a cup of coffee, engage in a bit of small talk before digging in. (There were only four of us this time, but we have seven in our group.)
9:20: Each of us takes a turn to talk about what we've accomplished since last month. That involves everything from a work in progress -- novel, short story, etc. to works we've been subbing to publishers or querying to agents. We even engage in our share of gripe sessions. Yes, *gasp*. We gripe a lot. Getting published is gruesome, the process moves slower than an ice glacier! It's humiliating -- grow a thick skin, because feedback can be brutal! But we always remain hopeful. It's how we roll! Okay, back to our agenda. Sometimes, one or two of us will have a chapter or two to share for critiquing. (emailed earlier in the month to give everyone a chance to read before the meeting) I had two chapters from a manuscript I've revised. It's so helpful to get feedback. Trust me. SO valuable.
Today, we reviewed my chapters, another writer's chapter, and a third writer's ideas for a continuation of her WIP. We offer our suggestions to each other. Sometimes, this is an eye-opener. Sometimes, we are just too close to our work to see what might be there. It takes someone else's perspective. Also, stop and think about it. As writers, we are often too much in our own heads. We may be thinking the details about our story, but they aren't always coming out on the page. Readers have that "huh?" moment and can tell us what's confusing to them. We do that for each other. Love that! And finally, one of our authors is a published super star! (We all aspire to be her one day.) She talks about her crazy schedule of manuscript due dates. She is juggling four...yes, count them, different contracts. Some of those due dates are clustered together because, yeah, publishers don't check with each other to coordinate due dates. As IF. She's overwhelmed and vows to slow down to have no more than two contracts on her plate at any one time. I'm sure her family appreciates that.
12:00 - break for lunch. Oh yeah! We must eat. :-) Today it's delivery from Panera. Okay, so we continue talking about our work while we eat. Yes, we can multitask. LOL.
1:00 pm - We talk about upcoming events - author-related. We all belong to our local chapter of Sisters in Crime. Another valuable idea for writers -- belong to a writers' organization. When you get published, this connection can help promote your work, network for you and put you in touch with writer conferences, maybe give you discounts on costs. And if you're trying to get published -- an organization can be your cheerleader, a "tour" guide in the publishing world, and so many other services.
2:30 pm - wrap up and schedule a date for next month's gathering. I head home and crash. My brain is both psyched and exhausted. Lots to digest. Loads of inspiration to dig in and do more...right after I take a nap! Haha.
Until next month, when more fun will be in store!
Happy writing and reading :-)