Tag Archives: WRW Retreat


“Why do you go to those writing conferences and retreats?”

This question was posed to me recently by one of my non-writer friends. My initial answer was something super-eloquent along the lines of, “Because!”

Can I argue a point or what!

All joking aside, I thought about why I do like going to writing conferences and retreats. Sure, there are the informational sessions and workshops. You get to pitch to and chat with industry professionals like agents and editors that you would normally not have access to. You get to catch up with your writing friends and critique partners. There’s often really amazing swag and tons of free books. You get to wear really cute sparkly shoes. (Okay, maybe that’s just for me.)

The Waterworld Mermaids at the 2012 WRW Retreat

The Waterworld Mermaids at the 2012 WRW Retreat

Any one of those reasons is enough for me to register. Yet, there’s still something else that makes me use vacation time at work, buy that plane ticket, pawn my dog off on one of my friends or family members, put my life on hold, etc. And that reason is … inspiration.

Spending a couple days with other writers always puts me in a really amazing mental place. The minute I walk in the door, I feel the creative wheels beginning to turn – even if I’ve been in a major writing draught. I love listening to stories of successful authors who started in the same place that I did. It’s amazing to sit next to an editor or agent and realize they are just a normal person looking for that next great story.

My advice to any newbie writers starting out is to find a writing conference or retreat, get yourself a pair of comfy shoes and go be inspired.

To help you, here are a couple of conferences/retreat that will give you a good place to start:

WRW’s “In the Company of Writers” – I’m partial to this retreat because my local RWA chapter puts it on every spring AND it’s where the Waterworld Mermaids met.

RWA Nationals – The Romance Writers of America® host a large, multi-day conference every summer. This is a whirlwind, but really, really informational. It changes locations every year too.

RT Booklovers Convention – I’ve never been but I’m dying to go! Plus, I’ve never heard anything but good, fun comments about it. This one is for both writers and readers of romance.

Remember, you don’t need to spend any money or go someplace exotic to get that same inspiration. You can always have a homemade/staycation conference that I like to call a write-in. Invite some writer friends to your house for a day, a couple days or even a couple hours. Turn off the internet, buy some chocolate and wine (especially if you’re inviting me) and do your thing.

Writers & Writing & Weekend Retreats: A Match Made in Happy Town

Denny (PortRoyale)This past weekend, I had a fabulous time in Boonsboro, MD, hanging with a bunch of writers I know from the Washington Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) serving the Washington, DC area.

First, you may not know about Boonsboro (Nora Roberts hangs out there a lot, but not this weekend:). Three years ago, I didn’t know it from any other small town in Maryland. But each year since first attending this gathering I’ve had a tremendous time, but this year, I don’t know, this year was a really, really, good time. Why? What made it different? Well, this year, here’s what happened:

  1. I learned about writing romance and how characters can fall in love – thank you Kathleen Gilles Seidel.
  2. I also learned I will do almost anything to receive the ARC for Lavinia Kent’s next book. Actually, I’ll do anything.
  3. I learned that with a gentle nudge J. Keely Thrall can (and did) update her website:)…
  4. I learned not everyone had heard my story about my date with Denzel Washington (back in the day, people, back in the day, but he’s on broadway now in A Raisin in the Sun – need tickets:).
  5. I learned that a good laugh can be had by all when I tell my story about how then President of the Harvard Law Review, Barack Obama, helped me out by holding my three-year old son.
  6. I learned that I can laugh to the point of tears at Meryl Streep and Adam Baldwin in “It’s Complicated” while learning about character arcs and story structure. Thank you Evie Owens.
  7. I also learned that Evie Owen’s next release, Witch Boy, has a kick-ass cover.
  8. I learned that Lisa Dyson’s debut novel, A Perfect Homecoming, debuting from Harlequin in June, has a shiny new and beautiful website, and her book cover is fantastic. So mark your calendars and stay tuned for launch parties, blog tours, and all sorts of goodness.
  9. I learned that Emelle Gamble, author of MOLLY HARPER, is a marketing all-star, and we’re thinking about putting together a marketing workshop – details to come:)!
  10. I learned that a weekend with writers, focused on their writing careers, their writing, their next book, their marketing plan, their writing world, always includes good times with good friends!
  11. But mostly, I learned that I’m damn lucky. These women writers are part of my circle of writing buddies (which also includes the wonderful Waterworld Mermaids), and in April (4-6), during the WRW In the Company of Writers 30th Anniversary Retreat I’ll get to see them all again!
  12. Also, look how happy (and gorgeous) we look! So tell me, what’s your ideal writing getaway?