I've been looking forward to the 2011Writing Academy Writers Weekend ever since I was asked to attend as a mentor. I'll meet with writers and critique their fiction manuscripts at the beautiful Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center near Minneapolis. And, after the year I've had, it'll be a retreat for me, too.
Suffice to say carpal tunnel surgery, seven months of pain from three herniated neck discs, surgery to repair them, a flu-like virus that had me down for a month, and an allergic reaction to wasp stings have made 2011 a challenging year. Not to mention the crushing disappointment when the editor who asked to meet with me at the ACFW conference last September--who liked my book manuscript and my ideas--emailed me to tell me the publishing house committee turned down my book proposal and wasn't interested in any of my ideas.
All this drained me physically, mentally, and spiritually.
So I need this retreat.
And God made sure I got it.
Besides meet with writers, I plan to soak in the peaceful surroundings, rest, read, and write. I've packed the March through August issues of The Writer (which I haven't had the chance to read yet), and my folders for story call outs and my Pathways to God devotional assignment (due Sept. 1). I'll also edit a fiction manuscript from one of my Novel Buds, my online critique group. And I just downloaded a free ebook on my Kindle yesterday for some leisure reading (and analysis of how other fiction writers write).
And, oh yes, work on my own novel-in-progress, Whiskey Run.
How long is the retreat, you ask? Not long enough. (Thursday, July 28-Monday, Aug.1, with Thursday and Monday travel days)
My writing goals for the coming year include finishing Whiskey Run; formatting and uploading my first novel, Before I Die, to Amazon and B&N as an ebook; ditto my second novel, The Heart Remembers; submit book proposals for said novels to a couple of smaller book publishers; putting together and publishing a third book of meditations (compilation of favorites from my column since 2002); and writing and submitting more PE stories and articles.
I probably won't get all that done. But man without vision will perish.
But I plan to come back with fresh wind beneath my wings and rekindled fire in my heart.
Update on Whiskey Run:
Word count: 16,301
Words written since last Thursday (Thursday to Wednesday): -40
No, I didn't go backward. I read and revised what I'd already written in November, adding and deleting text, which left me with 40 less words than I had last week. The reading and revising stage is now done. I'm ready to start writing chapter 7.
BTW, I read that the late Dick Francis, author of the best-selling horse jockey/racing mysteries, did not revise or rewrite. "He labored over each sentence . . . until it was as good as he could make it and then moved on," Readers Digest Select Editions editors wrote. Wrote Francis in his autobiography: "My first draft is IT."
Hmmmm . . . . sounds like what I do--agonize over each sentence until I'm satisfied I got it right. But I still go back and tweak, perfectionist that I am.