The Emus Retreat

One of the many special things about the Erin Murphy Literary Agency is the annual client retreat. This summer, the retreat took place at Big Sky Resort in Montana. Emus came from all across the country–often at great personal expense–to connect, recharge, learn, explore, and laugh. The whole experience reminded me once again how blessed I am to be a part of this community and how important this community is to me, both professionally and personally.

We heard insights and advice from guest speakers and a panel of experts. We broke into small groups to discuss our own individual career quandaries. We shared our works in progress and the ugliest sweaters we could find (or make). We got serious, and we also got plenty silly. We wrote, hiked, ate, drank, took in the scenery, and didn’t get nearly enough sleep (well, some of us didn’t). We took notes, pictures, and videos. We listened to our very own in-house band, sang, clapped, cheered, and maybe even shed a tear or two. For many of us, events like these can tax our introverted natures, causing us to retreat from the retreat. That was not only allowed, but understood and valued. Through it all, in doses we could all be comfortable with, we got to know one another better. What a treat!

Some Emus

[Some of the current Emu’s Debuts: Christine Hayes, Kevan Atteberry, Pat Miller, Laurie Thompson, Joshua McCune, Carol Brendler, and Tara Dairman.]


I’m mostly an analytical type, so I like to try to quantify things: What exactly did I get out of this retreat? What is one thing I can point to that makes the retreat worth the time and money I spent to go there? What will I be able to directly use from this experience to further my career? I don’t have a satisfactory answer to any of those questions.

Still, I know it was all worth it. The connections made and relationships built will keep me going when things get hard. They make me feel like not only am I a part of something magical, but I actually belong there! I think so many people are drawn to writing because at some point in their life they felt awkward, marginalized, forced to stand on the sidelines and watch the “cool” people have all the fun. Well, at an EMLA retreat, we get to hang out with some of the coolest people out there, and we find out they’re actually a whole lot like us.



p.s. We also got to see an advance copy of Pat Miller’s SOPHIE’S SQUASH, and we were absolutely charmed and delighted. You will be hearing more about this fabulous book, I guarantee it! In fact, you might just want to pre-order your copy right now, before they’re all sold out.


Filed under Colleagues, Happiness, Thankfulness, Writing and Life

12 responses to “The Emus Retreat

  1. Gosh, I love that picture. Laurie, you’ve captured the essence perfectly. Brava!


  2. Ah. how I wish that every weekend could be the EMLA retreat. Great post, Laurie ! (And you’re totally right about Sophie’s Squash!)


  3. kevanjatt

    Well said, Laurie! And yes!! (And damn straight about Sophie’s Squash! We’re going to hear a lot about this going forward!)


  4. Mike Jung

    I’m right there with you, Laurie, the EMLA retreat is one of the most important and very best things about my writing career!


  5. Great post, great picture. I love being part of the cool people!


  6. I love the EMLA retreat, too! I encourage writers to look for retreats and intensives. They’re great way to learn about craft and build relationships.


  7. Fabulous post, Laurie! And what a great picture of a bunch of awesome people. I loved the invigorating experience of the retreat and I’m already counting down to next year’s, for all the reasons already mentioned. This EMLA family rocks!


  8. The retreat was fun! It was nice to meeting so many EMU’s debuters and to think fondly of those who couldn’t attend. And THANK YOU for mentioning Sophie’s Squash. It got passed around along with sneak peeks at picture books by Laurie Thompson and Kevan Atteberry. All I can say is, “Wow!”


  9. “They make me feel like not only am I a part of something magical, but I actually belong there!”
    You nailed it with that line :•)
    And…Sophie’s Squash…Oh my! Perfection! (And I have pre-ordered!)


  10. Pingback: Wisdom from the 2013 EMLA Retreat | EMU's Debuts

  11. Pingback: What a year! | Laurie Ann Thompson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.