Writers spend a lot of time alone. Even those who write in a coffee shop or on a crowded airplane. We live inside our heads when we write and sometimes coming out of that space discombobulates us as we try to remember where we are and what we're supposed to be doing.
That's why it's so much fun for us to get together and practice our solitary craft all in the same room.
I spent this weekend on a little mini-retreat with some amazing writers. Beth Hull hosted at her lovely little home, having kicked out her family (but not her cat) and worked on the first revision of a delightfully quirky novel. Talia Vance brought sandwich supplies and worked on the sequel to her upcoming SILVER (Flux, September 8, 2012). Pat Kahn kept us supplied with chocolate and guacamole and read from a beautifully descriptive middle grade novel. And Kristen Held brought pizza fixings and started something completely new that held us all enthralled from the first page.
I made regular coffee runs and had a major breakthrough on Book 3 of The Royal Circle series.
But more than that, we shared that writing space. The one in which it's OK to hate the words you just set down on the page. Or to love the fact that your characters just started kissing again. Or to write something new -- five pages that took six hours to wrench from the recesses of your creative mind -- and read it aloud, knowing that you won't be laughed at. In fact, someone might just say, "I think you have your first chapter right there."