I am lucky enough to belong to a group of authors who meet each year for a writing retreat. We've been doing this for eleven years now and we just feel so lucky to have found each other.
This started when a couple of authors in Victoria decided to invite fellow romance authors who were isolated and who might benefit from the chance to connect and share. Wasn't that big hearted of them? Here's a pic from last year when we celebrated ten years of friendship. Yes, a little wine is involved in our gatherings, although less and less as we get older. :)
Our group has members from all over Australia and even a New Zealander. I live in Far North Queensland, I have very little chance for regular face to face contact with other published authors in my genre, so I was thrilled to be invited.
Of course, the venue helps.
For the past five or six years, we've chosen Coolangatta, as we can have inspiring beach views and a range of shops and cafes in easy walking distance, as well as swims and/or beach walks for those all so necessary between writing refresher breaks. Also, there's an airport with direct flights for all of us. Bonus!
So what do we do on these retreats? Just write? Well, no. There's plenty of writing that gets done, for those who need or want to, and lots of brainstorming too - either helping each other to flesh out new ideas, or to tussle with plot holes or other knotty issues. But we also have quite a businesslike agenda with other writing related issues to discuss and share.
Among this year's topics, for example, our topics include a book discussion (like a book club); publicity and promotion; getting rights back and self publishing; estate planning (tricky for writers with royalties trickling in); useful pointers for giving workshops; websites and associated tools; dealing with stress and anxiety (no job, no matter how idyllic it looks from the outside, can be free of this). So you can see, we're quite professional.
And then there's the friendship factor... over the years we've come to know each other very well, sharing the ups and downs of each other's real lives (as friends do) and that's invaluable, isn't it?
For me, the final bonus is that I have family in SE Queensland and I often get a little bonus time with them as well. Here, I'm cuddling the latest family member. Isn't she gorgeous?
Meanwhile, at home (back at the ranch, ha, ha), my husband continues to care for the little granddog we're babysitting, taking him for walks along our drive (on a lead because there are dingoes about) and generally spoiling him. How could he help it? Louis is so cute. :)