The past year or so of my writing journey has been a bit rocky, to say the least. The worst part was fearing I’d truly lost my love for writing. It seemed to be totally dried up. I couldn’t write new words. I didn’t even have energy for editing (my favorite part of writing). I felt like my grandbaby looks in the photo below (no, she didn’t get hurt!).
The last few months, however, I’ve noticed the tiniest flicker of interest deep inside. I pulled up a story I hadn’t worked on for quite awhile. It was fun getting reacquainted with the characters. I puttered around with it, writing in fits and starts.
But last week, things changed. I climbed into my car with 3 other women writers and off we went to a writer’s retreat in Missoula, Montana. Four women in a car for hours on end. We could have gotten lost in the wilderness of North Dakota (I think that’s an oxymoron) and had plenty to eat for a month. Chocolate, fruit, licorice, brownie crisps, nuts, crackers… We ate for 16+ hours out and 16+ hours back, and still had food left over! And the amount of luggage for a long weekend? Too ridiculous to mention…
But it wasn’t the food that got me energized about writing again. And much as I love, love, LOVE the mountains, it wasn’t the scenery that did it. It was the writers, most of whom I didn’t know before the retreat started on Friday.
Writers can be weird people. We live with movies playing non-stop in our heads (complete with theme music), have conversations with people we make up, and get upset if those people do things we don’t want them to do. Definitely weird. But also sensitive, caring, hopeful, expectant, faithful, and encouraging. Best of all, encouraging.
These gals (and 1 guy) were at all stages of the writing journey – just starting out to multi-published. Many were stuck in their plots, or wrestling with unruly characters. But what struck me the most was how absolutely encouraging everyone was to everyone else. (We’re giving shoulder rubs in this photo, not doing the bunny hop!)
“What do you write? How is that going for you? How can I help you?” Over and over these questions were asked as we got to know each other. Asked and answered. It was amazing. At times we laughed ourselves into tears. We hugged. We wrote ideas and encouragement on post-its for each other. We shared communion, worshipped together, and laughed hysterically while trying to play human foosball.
It was EXACTLY what I needed. And God knew that. I believe He handpicked everyone who was there so just the right group gathered to worship, write, and encourage. Next year the group may look completely different, and THAT will be just the right group. But this was the right group for me. And the right time and place.
I returned home tired, stiff (after hours and hours in the car), and totally re energized. I WANT to write. I’m excited again about this journey. I’m eager to see what’s around the next bend. And most importantly, I believe in myself and my writing again.