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New series!

Hi friends!

Amazing art for my essay on Medium by Acacia Sears.
Amazing art for my essay on Medium by Acacia Sears.

Hope you had a lovely holiday break. I had a long one and it was pretty great.

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks:

  • Another essay up on Medium: Why Are Little Girls So Creepy? Seriously, why?
  • I’m trying out selling my ebooks on KDP Select on Amazon. It basically means my books will only be for sale on Amazon for the next three months. It’s an experiment and I plan to post more as I try different things.
  • Listening to this and only this.
  • My manuscript! Have you heard? I have an agent! How I found my agent on Twitter will be up over on We Heart Writing in February.

And now for an announcement! Ok, so remember how I wrote about going to church at Valley & Mountain? I vowed to myself that I would write until Christmas. And I did! So now, I’m going to write about something new. I’m going to write about writing.

When I go running, I often find myself giving imaginary graduation speeches about being a writer. What can I say: a little self-aggrandizement really helps me pound out the next mile. After another run with imaginary advice, I realized I have a lot more to say about writing than I’ve put on here.

So, here begins a series: What Alicia Thinks About Being a Writer. It won’t be how to write, but rather how I have gone about being a writer. You will get a sneak peek into what I listen to when I write rough drafts and find out exactly how long it takes me to revise. AKA all my deepest darkest secrets! Hope that you enjoy.

I also have a run-your-own retreat (inspired by DIY Writing Retreat, but which I plan to make work for many creative undertakings–sewing, writing, painting…) in the works that I’ll be testing in February–you can sign up here if you’re interested in testing it!

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Get DIY Writing Retreat free

Yay! It’s here!-Cover

I got the idea to write a guide to running your own writing retreat after I realized that I had run my own writing retreat after I graduated from my MFA program. It was super fun to write–it has tables and lists and recipes! But, alas, the formatting and the glyph-designing and the editing (once again, mil gracias to my BFF Kel and KMR Publishing!) took a while. And then there was summer camp. So, I came up with this idea back in…April? And it is now (finally!) ready for your perusal.

Here’s what DIY Writing Retreat is:

  • A guide to running your own personal retreat to write for one weekend.
  • A schedule (down to the minute) with when to write, eat, relax, and write some more.
  • Motivational writing that will get YOU writing.
  • Lots of writing prompts (if you don’t know what to write) and ideas for how to make a writing goal (if you do).
  • Easy recipes and a shopping list so that you don’t have to think about eating.
  • Ideas for adventures to take in between writing sessions.
  • Instructions for fun unwinding activities, like how to make a God’s eye, for you to do in the evenings.

And it works–following this schedule for three weeks, I wrote all of the text for DIY Chick Lit. Yes, all of it!

DIY Writing Retreat is going to be available here and on Amazon starting Oct. 3. If you’d like to download it RIGHT NOW, great news, you can! Sign up here and I will send you a link to get the guide for free. You’ll also get my monthly updates AKA ezine “Greetings from Bookland” where I share all of my deepest darkest secrets and occasionally a recipe for cupcakes.

So, to recap, you can sign up here to get updates from me, and then I will send you a link to download DIY Writing Retreat.

Thanks, friends!

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How I went on a writing retreat with $0

About a year ago, I had just graduated from my MFA program at UNH and Andrew and I were getting ready to move to Seattle. We had about three weeks from when our lease was up to when we had to move, so we packed up and stayed at his mom’s Jim’s house. Jim has a big farmhouse on a big field next to some woods. It’s idyllic: cool mornings and warm days, Jim’s delicious cooking, a big comfy bed upstairs, ten minutes to the beach.

I had a few options. I could lounge on the beach all day or apply to jobs in Seattle. Either would be equally defensible. I’d just earned a freaking degree, right? I deserved a break. Or we were moving to a new city after just enjoying three years as a full-time student–what the heck was I doing not applying to jobs?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I quickly discovered job-hunting was a fruitless and demoralizing venture from across the country (though I should have given up much sooner). As for lounging on the beach–as Andrew will tell you, I am not a full-day lounger. (On our vacation, we went to a lodge for one full day on this beautiful lake, and by 1 pm I was all “Where are we going next?”) I would spend about forty-five minutes soaking up the sunshine, enjoying the cool breeze, imagining a beach bungalow where Andrew and I could sit in hammocks all day long, and then I would start getting antsy. Should I be applying to jobs now? I probably should be applying to jobs right now.

So I chose Option 3: Writing Retreat.

I made a schedule for myself and gave myself permission to write whatever the heck I wanted. I scheduled in breaks and runs through the woods. I also scheduled in beach time.

IT WAS MAGICAL! Want to know what I wrote in those three weeks? The entire text of DIY Chick Lit! All of it! And it was the most fun I had writing since I let myself write an actual chick lit novel for fun while I was on vacation two years before. I enjoyed the beach. I didn’t agonize over what my workshop-mates would say about my writing style, which was chattier than anything I’d written before. I stressed slightly less diywritingretreat-partial-snipabout my lack of a job.

Of course, I was incredibly lucky to have family with a beautiful farmhouse and amazing cooking abilities. I was also lucky to have a break between school and work. But there are other ways to go on writing retreat, even if you  have a job, no place to stay, and very little free time.

Want to know how? Great news! I wrote a guide to doing it on your own. You don’t need a fancy fellowship to get a lot of writing done. You don’t need to even think of yourself as a writer yet. You can just be curious about writing, with a secret desire to escape to a cabin in the woods filled with notebooks.

The guide will be up for sale on Amazon and here in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a peek at the almost-done cover.

If you’d like to get an email when it hits the stands, you can sign up here.

Stay tuned for how a writing retreat is different from “making time to write”!