Okay, you're dying laughing, and probably pointing at me and saying things like, "Listen, sweetheart, don't you GET IT???? VIRTUAL MEANS NOT REAL. GET WITH THE PROGRAM, RUTHY!!!!"
Virtual may not be tangible to touch or smell, but in a writer's world, the presence of mind is half-the-battle. Here's what author Valerie Comer had to say: The best part of the Seekerville virtual retreat was the virtual food, just like on the Seekerville blog, only more variety, all day long. No, wait, the best part was listening to Jake, the ranch owner, tell tales of his life. Okay, the REAL best part was hanging out with Seekervillains, sharing each other's triumphs and tears, and getting to know one another better. Much better. There's no such thing as too much better, is there?
Physical vacations cost time and money. Not all authors have a limitless supply of either, therefore the premise behind getting away mentally allows us more time to work... think.... reflect.... eat!!!!.... and get to know one another better.
Did we report in what we were doing? Yes, but more importantly we talked about how to do things better... how to handle rejection... how to edit/cut/revise.... how to find or recapture your voice... how to target.... how to maintain a balance of life vs. career vs. day job vs. family, etc. This wasn't like Speedbo where the goal is to produce, produce, produce... a retreat is meant for work, but also for reflection, letting God's hand and the blessing of the Holy Spirit direct your thoughts, your stories, your joy in what you do.
Here's how Ginger Solomon saw the retreat:
What did I get from this week?
· Writers can love each other.
· Rejection is not the end of the world.
· Even well-known names(to me) like Ruth Logan Herne, Jan Drexler, Julie Hilton Steele and others have issues with writing some days.
· I’d really like to go on a REAL-LIFE retreat to Jake’s ranch, snakes or not.
· I’m loved, even if I’m not yet published.
· You gals are a hoot, and have made me laugh multiple times this week.
· We need to kidnap Mary C. and take her on a ride or to the campfire or maybe throw her in the lake, she’s worked far too hard this week.
· I, too, wish it didn’t have to end.
Here's a rundown of last week:
Over 600 e-mails back and forth, filled with humor, warmth and advice... and some love and laughter tossed in!
Great food, ranch-style.
Inspirational e-mails from ranch owner Jake MacKillian
Missing Jelly Beans
Trans-latitudinal and longitudinal romance!!!!!
Sweet stories of forgiveness and second chances.
Pitchfork fried steaks
Did I mention cute cowboys?????
Writing advice and convos offered across the board, no cost, no harm, no foul, just a bunch of people working out the kinks of a tricky business.... And having fun while doing it!
Amber said: I learned so much during this week. From info and pointers on plotting and brainstorming, to tips on character development. It was also just a great time of getting to know other authors and having some good fun and laughs.
Love Inspired author Jan Drexler sent these bullet points:
1) The opportunity to play with Seeker-folks more than we can on the Seekerville blog. It's been great to get to know everyone just a little bit better.
2) Watching people's imaginations feed off each other. Remember when we were little and someone would say "Let's pretend..." and we'd be off and running - playing house, school, cowboys, pirates...it didn't matter. We were pretending together.
3) Getting WORK done! Two major projects hit milestones this week!
4) No mosquitoes at the campfires. Wasn't that part great?
5) Enjoying the characters you've introduced us to: Jake and his Mariella, Will and the other cowhands, and, of course, Sally May. How would we get along without her?
Jenny Blake came along as a reader and she had a wonderful time... but MORE IMPORTANTLY, Jenny added to the fun and flair of the retreat with her very own virtual romance with Cowboy Will.... Here's what Jenny has to say about her week at the Green Mountain Dude Ranch in northern Idaho:
"For this reader, hanging out with writers... getting to know you more....having a virtual romance and being in virtual warm weather. Learning more,. and having huge fun, and on this forum you can say more than often on a blog comment."
Each day began with a note from the ranch owner, Jake MacKillian...
(Ruthy note: Jake bore a striking resemblance to George Strait!)
Jake set the tone for the day as he told his story in bits and pieces, stringing us along.... and he sent us links to music... he gave us back-door tours of the makings of a ranch like Green Mountain... we met the folks behind the scenes. We got to "see" how Jake has dealt with life, love and loss... and his inspiration made us feel like anything was possible with human hands and God's saving grace.
"I really did pretend I was on a retreat this week. Read Jake’s meditations and listened to the music as my morning devotional. Spent about seven hours a day outside, on average, pondering and gardening. I wrote and read when I came back in. Sometimes you need a reason to do things a little differently in order to see things differently." Julie Hilton Steele
I wish I could print everyone's opinions here, I'd love for you to feel the pervasive fun of our virtual getaway...
Established authors sometimes forget that folks aren't made of money... or that they're too afraid of that "Published Author" title after your name to really speak up... or they're embarrassed to talk about something personal on a professional blog, even a friendly one like Seekerville. But in a virtual retreat, those barriers disappear and folks can gather... talk frankly... work hard or meander... and gain a better understanding of the realities facing each of us, every day. Not everyone's a big talker on retreats!
Here's a note from Mitzi Barkman: I'm the shy one, and though I have been peeking in on you and listening to your conversations and have loved getting to know you all, and Jake and Will as well as Sally and the rest. It's farming weather, no rain (praying for the southern Albertans) thankfully. But the mosquitoes...did you know they are so big here they sit on the trees and bark?
I'm dying laughing at her image of a barking mosquito! LOVE IT!
And Mia Ross summed it up nicely: Fun way to get away without going anywhere! The airline only loses your virtual luggage, and the weather is always perfect. Best thing of all: the people there with you. We'd never all be able to get together like this in person, but at the Green Mountain Dude Ranch, anything's possible.
Ruthy here: I hated to see it end. We had so much fun and it's a distinct possibility that our beloved GRAMMAR QUEEN might be taking up a more permanent residence with Jake, our widowed ranch owner...
When I left the ranch there was definite canoodlin' going on! I'm never one to push folks (hahahahahahaha!) so I just quietly slipped out and closed the door....
But I expect we'll be hearing more from northern Idaho!
Hey, come on inside and chat about what helps you maintain your focus. I've got a set of three mixed up books from various Seekerville authors to send out to someone.... Make a comment and I'll throw your name in the cat dish!
And to the sixty folks who signed up for the retreat including so many of my wonderful Seeker sisters, Superromance and Montlake author Holly Jacobs, Love Inspired author Mia Ross, and I won't even try to name everyone because I'd leave someone out and hurt feelings : Thank you so much for jumping on board! Talker? Non-talker? You're all welcome to drop by the Seekerville campfires, any time!
|This is Jeter, Ruthy's new puppy... Jeter's a black Goldendoodle, don't ask, we don't pretend to understand it!|
Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream of writing sweet stories, helping new authors and making fun of her friends in the virtual safety of her online world. She lives in upstate New York with too many cats, two beautiful dogs, a quiet but cute husband, a bunch of chickens, frogs and toads and surrounds herself with small children and young families daily. She then shamelessly exploits those sweet children and small animals to sell more books!