It seems like the last retreat has just come and gone and here we are again, leaving husbands and children behind, off to Maine and a kickass writing schedule with good good friends and inspiring fellow writers. Many people I talk to think my retreat is a boondoggle of sorts, as though I'm only saying that I'm going to Maine to write but I'll really just be sitting on the beach getting tan. So to prove that idea wrong, here's our schedule.
One thing on that schedule that really excites me is being able to meet up with Mameve Medwed, a fellow Grubbie and author who summers in the same town we'll be at for our retreat. I just finished her book, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life which I'm still thinking of a couple of weeks later. It has made me want to do two things: 1. Go to the next Brimfield antiques show and 2. Brush up on all my E.B.B. whom I haven't read in years. And I'm also realizing that I need to pick up the book Of Men and Their Mothers. I have a feeling that I will readily identify with the main character in that book (however, it must be noted that my current mother-in-law is an angel on earth who I love with all my heart).
As we're all first time novelists in various stages, talking with Mameve will be exciting--to talk about her writing and her publishing process. Anjali Mitter Duva's book Faint Promise of Rain comes out this fall so she's thick in the launch planning stages but also starting work on her second book. Jennifer Dupee is polishing off the final touches on her new novel (and hopefully starting to plan the next!) and Kelly Robertson is reworking a manuscript after she finished Grub Street's Incubator program.
Me? I'll be working diligently on rewrites on my manuscript for Feast of Sorrow, to hopefully turn over to an already interested agent by the end of the summer. I had the great fortune of working with a literary editor, Steven Bauer at Hollow Tree Literary Services, who gave me some wonderful and much needed feedback on my book. While I am rather desperate to begin working on my second book, I need to finish up Feast and Steven's commentary gave me new fuel and energy to make the changes I have needed to make.
Now don't get me wrong. There is wine in these next few days. There will be sand and ocean and a gorgeous summer sky. There will be long walks along the dunes. There will be the sound of gulls and the smell of the tide. Like last year, there might even be some fireworks.
Best of all though, even beyond the wonder of diving deliriously back into our novels, there will be the collective spirit of my writing group of nearly six years, all in the same house, all with similar writing goals, our fingers flying across our respective keyboards. THAT is, for me, the very best part of it all.
We're off to the state of Maine--the way life should be.
Want to plan your own writing retreat? Anjali documented what makes ours so successful. Check it out here.