Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Getting Those Juices Flowing...

No, not those juices! Geesh, where's your mind at?

I'm talking about those creative juices. You know, the inspiration, the ideas, the stuff needed to breathe life into stories.

Writing is a pretty solitary job. I mean, think about it—we sit in front of a computer all day, putting those snippets of scenes that flash through our minds onto our version of paper. We'll stare off into space, watching our own imaginary world unfold—while anyone who sees us doing that is thinking we're probably having some kind of break from reality. And okay, maybe we are. Not necessarily a bad thing, right?

We create characters, real live people (to us and—if done right—to the readers) with their own hopes and dreams and fears and interactions.

But when it comes to interacting in real life? Hmm…maybe not so much. When your job involves living in a make-believe world, shut away from the real one while you create your own, you don't always have time to "hang out". Then throw in the fact that quite a few writers also happen to be introverts and…well, you get the picture.

Creative juices are flowing in Nashville!

That's why writers love hanging around other writers. Have you ever been to a conference or booksigning, near the beginning during set-up? It's a huge hug-fest, with lots of smiles and laughter and talking. That's because writers get writers. It's normal to stare off into space (sometimes in the middle of a conversation). It's normal to talk about a character and her problems and issues and goals as if she was a real live person (because, you know, she is). Other writers get that, in a way nobody else can.

And that's why writers' retreats are the next best thing to falling into a vat of chocolate. You can sit down, discuss ideas, talk about those real characters. Plan and vent and rant and bounce ideas off each other. Get a group of writers together and that plot bump you've been struggling with suddenly disappears. Get a group of writers together and the inspiration and motivation takes off like that proverbial runaway train.

I just got back from a writers' retreat—this one in Nashville, with four fantastic ladies who kick some serious butt when it comes to inspiration and motivation. We're all at different stages in our careers but that doesn't matter—because we're writers.

Enjoying some downtime in Nashville--all in the name of research, of course!

And no, it wasn't all business. I mean, we were in Nashville—of course we're going to go out and play. And we did—from eating popcorn and watching Beauty and the Beast in our pj's, to hitting Opry Mills Mall and eating German food, to seeing the Grand Ole Opry and hitting up a honky tonk or three on lower Broadway (alcohol may or may not have been involved). It was a week of bonding, of writing, of bouncing around ideas and creating grand business plans. Of motivation. Of accountability.

Of friendship.

That's the other great thing about writers. Because of our jobs, we don't get a chance to see each other in person very often. But the distance—in both physical location and in time apart—doesn't matter. Months can go by until we see each other again and it doesn't matter. We'll hug and scream and laugh and carry on as if only a day has gone by. Then we'll get right down to business and talk about our characters and problems and inspire one another. Motivate one another.

Kicking it up at the Nashville Palace.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But for now, I need to get back to my characters and their world. I have a schedule to keep to, and four wonderful ladies who will be kicking my butt if I don't stick to it!


Lisa B. Kamps is currently juggling three series about real characters with real lives and real problems living in her head: The Baltimore Banners, The York Bombers, and Firehouse Fourteen. Her latest title, Second Alarm, is scheduled for release July 26 and can be ordered by clicking here.

To learn more about Lisa, please visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


dstoutholcomb said...

looks like a fun time

Lisa B. Kamps said...

It was--relaxing *and* productive!