I wanted to take a couple minutes to talk a bit more about why I want you to come to the Pneuma retreat this October. It’s the kind of thing that would be easy to dismiss out of hand, even if you felt a deep stirring to go, because it costs money and is far from home (for some of you) and might necessitate all kinds of things: negotiations over childcare, reconfiguring your budget, getting over the guilt of spending money on yourself for this thing you love.
For me, there are few things more empowering than getting away from my daily life and going to a place where I can live and breathe writing with fellow writers. Every time I’ve been on a retreat or at a residency, I’ve had growth–sometimes huge, shocking growth–as a writer and artist. I get inspired by the lectures and the workshops, of course, but–most of all–I’m inspired by the other writers on the retreat and the actual space we make our home in. The late night conversations, the energy of a group of writers being together and sharing what they love, and the gorgeous natural settings always leave me filled to the brim with creative energy and joy. It fills your well like nobody’s business.
You know all the details about the retreat at Highlights this October, so I won’t get into that (if you missed out, go here). What I want to touch on are some of the things that hold us back from taking these leaps. Maybe you feel like you shouldn’t go to stuff like this until you’ve made some real money off your writing. Maybe you feel like it’s not right to spend so much on yourself–you’ve got kids or other responsibilities. Maybe you’re worried it will be more like a vacation and less like a transformative, life-altering experience and you don’t want to spend money on a vacation right now. Maybe you’re scared: holy shit, I’m going to have to be vulnerable and show up. People are going to read my writing and talk about it. People are going to know I’m a fraud, that I’m talentless. I’m going to feel like shit because I don’t have an agent yet. Everyone will be better than me. I’m shy. I’m depressed. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t do this–I want to stay in my writer hole.
I’m sure there are reasons I haven’t touched on, but that last one is really important for me to address. So many writers are ruled by fear: of failure, of getting found out (imposter syndrome, etc.), of ruining their lives chasing a dream. To those of you who are struggling, I say this: you’ve got one life to live and you better start living it. You are a writer: it’s in your bones. Stop denying yourself, stop sabotaging your future. Whether or not you go on this retreat, if you are ruled by what others might think of you, or fear of putting yourself out there you must, must, MUST work on that. Like, really WORK on that. It will keep you from your best writing and from the fulfillment that comes from doing what you love (I’m not just talking about publishing. I know plenty of published authors who lose sight of what they love because they’re ruled by fears of failure and invisibility).
At this retreat we will be holding space for one another. We’ll be getting into all the shit that freaks us out: the work, how to stay sane in the crazy of publishing, how to live life as an artist, and what it means to be a woman and a writer in these times. We’ll be shoulders to cry on, cheerleaders, and warriors. For four days, our world will be whittled down to our little group, our beautiful space, and the pursuit of words that open gates and doors and crash through the walls we’ve built up. It will be good work. Hard work. FUN work. And when it is over, your creative well will be full, you’ll have a plan for the next several months (or longer), and you’ll have a better sense of who you are as a writer and who you want to be.
Inspiration. Transformation. Restoration. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Email me if you have questions or just need support in talking through this decision. Whatever you decide, I’ve got your back. xo