I’m going to a retreat. You know, like rich people do. It’s in Virginia. I’ll be immersed in books and horses and hounds and…
This is the picture on the Hunt Country Writers website (link below). That picture alone was enough to sell me. It oozes friendliness, a certain uniqueness, and warmth.
There are many writing conferences available for new writers wanting to improve on their craft, but very few are in Northern Ontario. Since making the big decision to take my writing seriously, I’ve tried to treat myself to a different conference every year. Which makes the Hunt Country Retreat a treat re-treat.
Man, I’m good at this writing stuff.
First one I attended, in 2011, was The Scene of the Crime on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ontario, where my sister lives. That’s not her over there <–. My sister is much prettier. And a little less hairy. That’s Allen Grant. He was a resident of Wolfe Island and a mystery writer.
2012 was the last year for this wonderful meeting of like-minded writers. I was fortunate to attend this conference before it folded, after eight successful years, and I remember it fondly. What I learned at Scene of the Crime was the benefit of smaller venues. More conversations. More laughter and less nerves. It was fun. And, best of all, my sister gave me free room and board (because she loves me), so it was cheap.
Seemed huge to me. So many people, so many panels, all of them interesting and every one of them informative. But less one-on-one. More nerves (due to a pitch session, so the nerves were of my making. And then, after the pitch went well and the agent asked for my first three chapters, I worried even more. Were those first three chapters good enough? I never win in the war of worry), so the weekend was a blur of stress. My favourite time was being alone in my room (the Hilton, very impressive), writing about the experience. And I consider myself a social person, but Good Gravy, there were a lot of people there.
Okay, not that many people, but it felt like it sometimes.
Due to the unpleasant surprise of finding myself unemployed in 2013, I had to forego a conference that year. Lots of time, no money. Which worked out in the end because it gave me the opportunity to visit Mother in England. And, because she also loves me, she funded the holiday, bless her. A writer with a supportive family is a lucky writer, indeed.
So here I am now, 2014, with a part-time job I love, and the time and the money to further my writing goals. Where to go? Well, let’s see where Brad Parks will be making an appearance. Following an author you enjoy is as good a reason as any to determine which conference to attend.
Love the tavern part.
Hope it’s haunted.
Many thanks to Genie and Jan, the coordinators of Hunt Country Writers Retreat, for extending a long and friendly hand across the many miles and borders to help me overcome any barriers to this trip. I’m so looking forward to meeting them both.
But I’m busy. There’s a lot to do before I go. I’ve started a new on-line writing course with Mary Rosenblum. I’m thirty chapters into editing A Bother of Bodies with Jayde from Divertir Publishing (only four more to go!), and I’ve started pestering Ken the Publisher to get my book cover done.
It’s good being busy. It’s good to find something you love so much you want to work harder to improve. It takes time, it takes effort, and it takes — don’t kid yourself — money. Sid Crosby (what kind of Canadian would I be if I didn’t work hockey into my blog. Especially during the Olympics) is a talented athlete but you can bet his parents put some money into equipment, training, and travelling.