Last week, I was at a retreat with nine other writers. It was intense. We love our teacher and we work hard. It’s a way of honoring the time and love and effort that she pours into teaching us. There were class sessions and writing hours and daily workshopping and daily editing meetings. It was all incredibly helpful.
But just as helpful was the kindness within the group.Talking each other down from ledges. Listening as someone grieved a book that hadn’t worked. Encouraging someone who was doubting whether she could do this thing she had set out to do. Sharing something you knew when someone else needed it.
No one was assigned to do this stuff. We just paid attention to each other. We helped where we could. It was a beautiful thing. By the end of the week we were exhausted. We also didn’t want to leave each other.
This week, I’m at our annual agency retreat. (I know. An embarrassment of riches.) And I know that I will see it again. People taking care of each other.
Look. It’s a hard thing that we do. It can be a little lonely. And we’re never quite there. We’re always trying to write better, to make the next book better than the last book. We need other friends who are writers. They’ve been there. They know. They’ll help.
Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.
She is the author of the picture books, Instructions for Bedtime (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)
You can visit her online at http://mylisalarsen.com