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Fill the Quiver (with inspiration) + giveaway by Robin Constantine

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Fill the Quiver (with inspiration)

Plus giveaway of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING below

by Robin Constantine

Last October I went on my first writing retreat.  Going in, I didn’t know what to expect.  I imagined a group of us with laptops, clicking away, occasionally taking breaks for meals or naps, but mostly writing.  I set the lofty goal to hit twenty thousand words by the end of the four-day weekend.  Prepped with some craft books, pens, my trusty laptop, some fuzzy socks and about fifty pages of a new WIP, I was all set for a productive weekend.

When I arrived home on Sunday, I returned with some new reading material, a box of the world’s most insanely rich chocolate truffles, and four thousand new words in my WIP.  You might look at that word count and think my retreat was a wash.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Photo curtsey of Fantasy Journal

So what was my quiver filled with by the end of the weekend?

New friends – Writing is not exactly a social activity.  I’ll admit all the time I spend alone made me slightly angst ridden about meeting new people.  Turns out I wasn’t only meeting people – but kindred spirits.   We talked about plotting, querying, books we loved and even had nightly readings.   One morning there was a discussion about interesting ways to kill people with household cleaning products and what someone would think if they read a writer’s Google search history.  Never a dull moment!

New tricks – To loosen up our creativity we did some story mapping.  You take a large sheet of paper, some colored pens and draw yourself a map of your story.  It could be bits on characters or plot or just general thoughts about where you want to go with the story.  I loved this exercise and still use it from time to time to help construct individual chapters.

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Comfort Food – I can’t believe I lived this long without knowing Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels existed!   Or something called Tortilla Espanola!  I loved this dish so much, I wrote it into my WIP.  Yes, really.

Fresh Air – The retreat house was nestled in the mountains of North Carolina.   Taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood pretty much meant taking a hike.   All that heart pumping activity and oxygen enriched blood definitely cleared the cobwebs and reminded me that exercise is a good tool to get your creativity flowing!

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An Amazing Place – On our last full day we took a field trip into Asheville.  If you haven’t been, then you need to change that, right away.  I think creative energy is pumped into the streets. It’s palpable.  And there’s Malaprops Bookstore!  Oh, and that box of insanely rich chocolate truffles – yep, from Asheville.  It’s a magical place.

Words – While I didn’t manage my lofty twenty thousand, I did write four thousand words over the course of the weekend.  Not only that, but I had a new direction and focus on my story. When I arrived home I couldn’t wait to attack it.

Jro, Kip, Patty, Jen, Mary Ann, Juliana and Lauren – Wait, isn’t this like my first point on the list?  Yes and no.  See, I didn’t really know these wonderful women and writers before I went on the retreat.  Now?  I like to think there’s a gossamer web that ties us together – or Twitter, take your pick.   Word of encouragement, a quick hello – I get to see them every day.   This is the most prized possession in my quiver!

I know there are probably retreats that focus on output, word wars, and rewards for meeting daily goals – I think that’s wonderful.  I’d love to go on a retreat like that some day.  But this retreat helped me fill a creative quiver I hadn’t even realized was empty.

Debuting is an incredible adventure, but it can also be terrifying.  Exuberant highs are sometimes met with crushing lows.  The retreat gave me a moment to step out of the insanity of my pre-debut and help me remember why I love to write in the first place.   Taking some much-needed time to re-energize and ‘fill the quiver’ was the best gift I could give myself and one I highly recommend to anyone in need of reboot.  I hope to do it again soon!

Happy Debut, Christy!

Enter to win an autographed copy of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING!

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Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round.  She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene. 

Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, was released on December 31, 2013 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Twitter: @RConstantine14

Website: http://www.robinconstantine.com/

8 Responses to Fill the Quiver (with inspiration) + giveaway by Robin Constantine

  1. Christina says:

    I’ve never been to a writers’ retreat. It sounds amazing! Do you know if there are any in South Texas? Thank you for sharing your awesome experience.

  2. Morgan says:

    I want this so much, fingers crossed!!!

  3. bevbaird says:

    Sounds like an amazing experience! Lovely inspiring post!

  4. bn100 says:

    Sounds like fun

  5. Angela C. says:

    Great post. 🙂 The retreat sounded fun!

  6. Hey you! Sounds oddly familiar :0)

  7. Darith L. says:

    Lovely interview! I like the retreat the author speaks of. That sounds fun and relaxing.

  8. Katherine says:

    The writing retreat sounds like a lot of fun! I didn’t even know it even existed.

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