Writing can be such a solitary occupation that sometimes we can forget everything else around us. Actually we may ignore our own surroundings, as we plunge ourselves into new worlds that are exciting, frightening and unique. But sometimes we have to come back to earth and when we do, it pays to visit with other authors and get a look at their worlds.
In the past month I have gone through a number of different writing experiences that involved other authors and I have to say it has been a fabulous time. All these events have made me realize how invigorating it is to just listen to other writers talk about how they create their works and to have a chance to share some of my own ideas.So if you need some inspiration and feel your writing is growing stale, how about trying some of these things:
1. Attend a book signing. I don’t do many and wish I had time to attend more when people I know are signing, but I usually try to get to the signings for writers I don’t get a chance to see very often. In late August I went to Diane Mott Davidson’s book signing to hear her discuss her latest mystery featuring Goldy the amateur sleuth/caterer. I always enjoy her signings because she brings a tasty treat from her latest book, but also to hear her discuss her research. This time she talked about how she came up with people who got killed in her books. I have to admit she was the first writer I heard say that she usually kills off someone who has angered her in some way. Since then I’ve killed off an old boyfriend and a couple of ex-bosses in my books.
The second book signing I attended was just for the sheer joy of meeting one of my favorite authors for the first time -- Sue Grafton. I've enjoyed her works for nearly 30 years and she was one of the reasons I decided to try my hand at writing mysteries.
2. Try a writing convention. I always enjoy writing conventions so it was no surprise that the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold turned out to be as helpful and fun as usual. The session were top notch and spending time with other writers always gives me new ideas on stories I am working on and what I might want to write next.
3. How about a retreat? After Colorado Gold I spent four days at the RMFW Writer’s Retreat. If you’ve never been to one, I highly encourage it. The great thing about a writing retreat is that you have to work. With a room full of writers around you, typing on their laptops, you can’t time out to play a game or tease the cat. My first discovery was that I was too used to working in a noisy area. (too many years in noisy newsrooms) I’ve always been able to write in busy restaurants or coffee shops. The silence in that room, except for the tapping on keyboards was deafening. I finally plugged in my earphones to listen to music. The only problem was that most of the music on my computer is sad or very romantic. I ended up writing so many sad scenes I almost had myself crying right there in the room.
4. Don’t ignore meetings of your writing groups. I belong to too many groups to make all the meetings, but whenever I get to a nearby session, it is always helpful. This past weekend I attended the all-day Heart of Denver Romance Writers session on selling your books on Amazon. The information was great, but hearing from other writers about their own publishing journeys was just as good. They’ve been down in the trenches getting their work out there for the public.
5. Finally, try linking up with a writing buddy. One of my critique partners and I have made a pledge to meet every week to go through what we are working on and to discuss trends in the business. It’s a way to keep up on what is happening and to talk about anything that might be developing into a problem with our current books.
The bottom line here is not to get so involved with your computer that you forget to engage with others. We all spend enough time alone. And often our loved ones just don't understand when we talk about fighting with our characters or problems with a scene. Sometimes it is good just to get out and hang out with other writers to find out what their problems are and to celebrate their successes.
Okay, now it’s time to get back to work…