5 Lessons From a Virtual Writing Retreat

This past weekend, I attended the first ever #5amwritersclub virtual retreat: Unforgettable Characters and Incredible Journeys, which was put on by our brave and fearless leader, Ralph Walker. While I don’t want to share Ralph’s “secret sauce” (because you will have the opportunity to attend a similar retreat in the future, and you should!), I did want to share a few things I learned along the way. Here are five lessons learned from a virtual writing retreat.

  1. As a writer, your best resource is your bookshelf. When it comes to unforgettable characters and the incredible journeys they go on, the best examples are on your bookshelf. What books do you remember years after putting them down? What books have you read over and over again? Think about what makes those plots and characters stand out. Work hard to make your story do the same!
  2. Sharing work with other writers is essential. Reading other writers’ work makes you a better writer. Giving feedback and suggestions to other writers makes you a better writer. Receiving feedback and suggestions from other writers makes you a better writer.
  3. Make it worse. Whatever your characters are going through, make it worse. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the payoff in the end.
  4. Spending time with other writers is invigorating. The 19 other people I spent the weekend with were incredible. They gave me feedback and ideas that I can’t wait to implement in my work. Some of them made me laugh until my abs hurt. Most of all, they inspired me and motivated me and made me so grateful for every second spent with them.

  5. You are a writer. If you write, you are a writer. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been published, were published once a long time ago, or have a contract for seven upcoming books. You are a writer. Say it. Believe it. Live it.

Would I recommend that you attend Unforgettable Characters and Incredible Journeys or another #5amwritersclub retreat? Yes. Absolutely. There are opportunities to give and receive feedback, large group sessions and activities, small group discussions, independent writing time, lots of valuable resources, and fun swag! (Don’t worry, the 5 a.m. sessions are optional!) Follow @RW_Igloo on Twitter for future dates and announcements.

In the meantime, whatever you’re writing? “Write the shit out of it.” – Ralph Walker

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