One of the things many of my romance writer friends and I share in common is that we have more stories inside us than the time to write. I, for one, started coming up with stories, mostly to avoid mom's stink-eye, long before I started in Miss Summers' kindergarten class. And I never stopped telling them. Just ask my sister, Sabrina. The family lore is that I once blamed her for wetting my pants during a difficult day in the old potty-training regimen, but I don't remember that far back, so I can neither confirm nor deny that one.
I'm sharing all this juiciness - and sogginess, as the case likely was - because I've learned another thing about writers. Although we might have tales stacked three deep in the bookshelves of our minds, our creative wells aren't quite as constant. They're temperamental founts, sensitive to the strains of our daily lives and easily drained without some of the same tender care we build into the relationships between our heroes and heroines.
That's why it's so important that we take the time we need to refill our wells. I did just that this past weekend by attending "Retreat From Harsh Reality," sponsored by the Mid-Michigan chapter of Romance Writers of America. The annual retreat provides an opportunity for writers to relax, share creative energy with fellow authors and get back in touch with the stories that compelled us to write in the first place. And then they're are encouraged to sneak away or collect in groups and start typing.
This year's event took place at the Bay Pointe Inn, a resort on Gun Lake, in Shelbyville, Michigan, a setting so beautiful that I would have come away inspired, even if no one had spoken a word. But then Rita Clay Estrada, co-founder and first president of the now 10,000-member Romance Writers of America, started sharing her wisdom. She inspired us, telling tales from some of the pioneers of the romance industry and encouraging us to keep writing our stories. I couldn't wait to get back to my book - to Ben and Delia and their rocky journey toward love - which is good thing since I'm on deadline. :)
DID I MENTION THE SETTING? Who wouldn't be able to get into a romantic writing mood watching a sunrise like this?
|Sunrise over Gun Lake, Shelbyville, Mich.|
Or staring out over a scene as serene as this one?
|Water like glass on Gun Lake|