by Julie, still basking in the glow of hard work, good food, and wonderful friends
Six years ago Jessie, Barb, Edith and Liz had newly minted contracts, and decided to get together for a weekend to figure out what that meant. The next year Sherry had a contract, and she and I were invited to join the weekend retreat. That weekend the Wickeds were born. We got the blog up a few weeks later, in time for Liz’s release, followed shortly by Edith and Barb.
My contract came through shortly thereafter, and the six of us have been gathering for this 48 hour retreat ever since. Some years have been mostly about writing. This year the focus was on the business of being a Wicked. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t laughter, great food, lots of wine, and fabulous conversations. There was all of that, and more. But five years into this community that we all cherish, we had conversations about how to continue to build, celebrate our successes, support one another through deadlines, and navigate the twists of turns of life.
We are six very different women, with different points of view. We don’t always agree, but we do always listen to one another. Over these six years we’ve become friends, certainly. We’ve also come to respect one another enormously, respect our paths, and offer advice when asked for it.
This year we helped each other plot, met up with Lea Wait (who’s new book Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd comes out tomorrow!), talked about an editorial calendar for the blog, had a conversation about the book business that lasted the better part of a morning, shared new skills with each other, created some new work flow for the blog, and wrote down releases and deadlines through 2019. My mind is whirring, but I’m excited about the conversations, and rejuvenated by spending time with my friends. I know you will all love these new ideas, which we’ll be rolling out this summer.
One personal note–as I mentioned earlier, I did not have a contract when I joined the blog. I will forever be grateful to these women for inviting me on board, lifting me up along my journey, and becoming dear friends. We’ve been figuring out the best way to be Wickeds along the way, and are so grateful to you, dear readers, for coming along with us.
Readers, do you go on retreat with friends? Tell us about it in the comments!
Wickeds, what did I miss in my recap?
What she said! We all bring different skills, talents, and insights to our discussions, which makes the whole so much bigger and better than the parts. I feel very blessed to have my author journey held up and moved along by these women.
We are indeed blessed! Wonderful to see you this weekend, Edith.
How wonderful to see support like this as it doesn’t always happen anymore. With friends like these you will not need it but good luck to you all and may you continue to write so we all can read.
Thank you so much Gram! We are very lucky. And there are lots of books coming, which is a thrill.
I do meet up with my BFF at least once a year, more if we can swing it. She lives several states away and sometimes it seems to take lots of planning and rescheduling to make it happen. However, it’s definitely worth it and we have tons of fun when we do. Although we meet up with our spouses along too, our girls weekends are extra special.
Janice was the one has been my lifeline through some very difficult times. She arranged and flew in for our first so retreat when I was at my lowest as far as energy, emotionally and needing someone with another prospective to talk to after having been taking care of my Mom with Alzheimer for over a year 24/7.
Janice is my sister by choice and definitely family. I will always cherish her being there for me and pray that I’ve been her one to lean on in her tough times and the one to laugh with through the good times. I always look forward to the next time.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Kay, scheduling these times is such a feat, but it is so worth it. How lucky are you and Janice to have each other in your lives.
I haven’t been able to go on retreat with friends in a few years. I think I have to fix that.
It’s really great. Like going to a conference without getting dressed up.
I just return from a girl’s weekend in Colorado and it was great. I only see them once a year and when we get together, it’s like we saw each other the day before. It’s also fun that we pick a different city each year for new discoveries. So far, we’ve been to St. Louis, FL, DC, and Boston. We’re now looking at place to go in 2019.m
I loved seeing your photos Dru Ann! I’m going to see some old friends in July and it’s the same, like we’ve never been apart.
Exploring new cities sounds like an excellent plan. I’ve never been to Denver. Loved seeing your pictures.
It was a great weekend that was link the blink of an eye! We are so lucky not only to have each other but everyone here who is along for the ride.
I so agree on all fronts. We’ve built a wicked good world. Wonderful seeing you!
Twice a year when possible, I go to a spirituality retreat. It has different themes each year but always seems to be just what I need at that time. One is held in cabins in the woods, the other at a small retreat center along the Delaware shore. Just being out of touch with the “world” for a weekend is a wonderful thing.
Sounds perfect to me. I think that being unplugged is my next adventure.
I love that you all support each other creatively and practically on a regular basis, Julie. And this year in such a special place! The closest I’ve come to a retreat like this was a Seascape workshop with Hallie, Roberta, Hank and a great group of aspiring mystery writers some years ago. Watershed for me. I brought rough chapters and the core of an idea on a Friday night and left late Sunday afternoon convinced that I really COULD do this. Nothing like being with a supportive, creative group for a couple of days. Wine and chips help, of course.
Several of us MET at Seascape, Marian. So glad you could go while it was still running.
Marian, I always regret not going to Seascape. What a gift it was to so many writers. And readers!
Julie–Great summary of the weekend! I look forward to these retreats every year.
As do I!
I’m so jealous. It sounds like a fabulous time! I’m excited to see what you will be rolling out this summer.
I can’t remember the last time I went on a retreat with friends. Possibly college. But I will probably be going on the men’s retreat at church this year since the mud run that usually interferes looks to have gone out of business. (Not too surprising after the last two years. I would only have signed up to say I’d done all of them.)
I did get away overnight this weekend so I could do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run on Saturday. I was surprised just how refreshed I felt after that. Tired, but refreshed. (And the after picture did finally get posted on Facebook on Saturday.)
Your church retreat sounds like the ticket. And yes, a weekend away is refreshing for sure! Glad you’re back up for the mud runs!
It was such an amazing weekend. I always feel renewed spending time with all of you, and it definitely kickstarts my creativity. I feel so blessed to be on this road with all of you!
It kickstarts me too! So glad to see you and Shaggy!
It’s great that you all are able to get together every year. Loved seeing the pictures. That view from the porch is so pretty. We try to do a girls weekend in Vegas every year.
Jana, I’ve never been to Vegas, and I need to fix that. The view, and the company, were both spectacular this weekend.
It was just the sort of renewing and inspiring time I wish for all our readers and fellow writers! Can’t wait to see you all as soon as can be managed!
My writing group meets every Monday night, and every other meeting is a social hour. We can’t live without our Monday night fix!
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