Maintaining a writing career is a bit like taking the world’s longest road trip. Like the car needs periodic infusions of fuel (and occasional maintenance) or it ends up empty on the side of the road. Sometimes that fuel takes the form of online or in-person craft classes to brush up on the basics or expand one’s range. Other times it’s an order of research books to help bring three-dimensional life and realism to our stories. Attendance at conferences adds business and craft knowledge to our writer toolkit.
All of those things are awesome ways to refill the well (or the car’s gas tank). But other times you simply need to be around other writers. There is an almost indefinable energy we soak up when we’re around each other. No one else truly understands the writer’s life, the writer’s hopes and fears, struggles with self-doubt and frustrations with industry changes.
When I lived in Nashville, I got my regular infusions of being-around-other-writers energy through monthly RWA chapter meetings, lunch with writer friends, etc. Now I live two hours away from the nearest RWA chapter. I have a couple of writer friends locally and our periodic lunches are great. Still, I miss my dearest writer friends. So it was with great excitement that I’d been looking forward to a visit to the area by fellow Bad Girl Tanya Michaels and her mom. I planned to hang out with them for a bit, maybe have a writing session or two with Tanya.
Imagine my tremendous surprise when I arrived at the condo last Thursday to find that it had all been a ruse — but the very best kind. Tanya was indeed there, but her mom wasn’t. Instead, it gradually clicked in my head that staring back at me from the other side of the doorway was also another Bad Girl, Sally Kilpatrick, and two of my dear friends from Nashville, Gretchen and Lara. They had all driven several hours to surprise me with a month-early birthday weekend. I’m not going to lie; when it dawned on me, I started crying. Oh, and did I mention that they worked my fangirling into the mix as well? It was a superheroes theme weekend. When they opened the door, they were dressed as the Avengers. 🙂
Thus began four days of refilling my writer energy tanks. We talked books, writing, and so much more. (perhaps including fangirl crushes on Dan Stevens, especially after we went to see Beauty & the Beast). We sat on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and wrote. We took walks on the beach, collected shells and laughed until our sides hurt and tears were streaming. It was exactly what I needed, and I love them all the more for making it happen. Now I hopefully can forge ahead and write the last 15,000 words of the book I’m working on for Harlequin and dig into some other writing projects with renewed energy. Right after I get a good night’s sleep.