I just came back from an amazing weekend at the SCBWI Canada East Writers' Retreat and Conference in Niagara Falls. Yeah, I know. AMAZING, RIGHT?
Not only were the workshops practical and useful and incredible, but so were the critique sessions. And the fact that there was even time scheduled in to take the critique into consideration and work on a revision.
But the best part was the people. Eating meals at the same table and talking about everything but writing; laughing our way through who knows how much wine and cake; holding each others' hands in the hallways while we sweated bullets over our impending critique sessions; and being there for each other in the hallways as we came out afterwards, our minds swirling with new ideas and uncertainties, reassuring each other that "you'll figure it out."
Yes, you have to make room for the writing. But don't do it at the cost of forging bonds with other writers. We hold each other up. Individually, we are all a mess: overworked, undernourished, living off a steady stream of caffeine and the pure adrenaline rush of creating. But together, we can make miracles happen.