Friday came too soon. After an intense but enjoyable week, I'm not sure any of us were really ready to leave. We started the day with a lecture by Steve on Writers' Mental Health, and the ways we need to take care of ourselves. Too often, writers and other creative people get lured by drugs and/or alcohol, or even cigarettes & caffeine to help tap into their "muse" or inner beast, then find they can't create without them. The trick is to never start.
The other way we need to take care of ourselves is by refusing to let the negative reviews get to us. Sometimes even seeing how prolific other writers are can dampen a writer's enthusiasm because, frankly, sometimes the words don't come as freely as at other times. And sometimes they don't come at all. One piece of advice all the instructors gave repeatedly on this subject: Never EVER respond to a negative review. Even if all you want to do is to correct an error of fact ("there were no cats in my story"), it can come off as snarky. Let your fans correct the error for you. ;o)
Next, Patrick gave a lecture on the state of the industry -- really interesting. He started with a history of the genre and mass-market paperbacks, and wrapped up with a few encouraging tidbits about book-buying in general: the national literacy rate is higher than ever, people buy more books than ever despite the higher cost and the fact that about 30% of the population does not go to bookstores), and the genre is alive and well.
After dinner, we talked and said our goodbyes and ambled off to prepare for our departure.
Saturday morning, we settled our hotel bill and I got some pics of my two roommies, Pat and Kate. Pat and I said our goodbyes to Kate and got a ride to the airport from one of the "not staff." We caught the same plane to Providence in the little 10-seat (including the pilot) plane. The weather was pretty nasty, and so our landing was quite rough. Pat and I had a 2-hour layover before our next flights, so we had lunch and talked for a while, then said our goodbyes. I went on to Dulles airport, and after a short layover and a long wait inside the plane, we took off for Phoenix. The movie was Batman Begins. Despite leaving about an hour late, we were almost on-time at the arrival gate, only my luggage went to LAX instead of Phoenix. Grrr.
I'm tired through to my bones! Sunday will be spent reading, relaxing, doing laundry and relaxing. And reminiscing about one of the best weeks I've spent in a long time.