Writing and Renewal

19 Oct

I live in a small town – population around 2000. To translate that for those who live in cities we have one stoplight in our entire valley. Our valley consists of three small towns separated by eight miles each. And one stoplight.

I like where I live. I don’t lock my car when I’m in town. I recognize most people by sight.

I am also a writer. From a small town perspective this translates as the nearest writing group that I belong to is a five plus hour drive. I can’t talk to the grocery store clerk about the voices in my head. I live in a western town, no one around here would bother with an intervention. I’d more than likely be arrested.

So I do what I can to renew myself from a writer’s point of view. I think this is terribly important, writing is such a solitary endeavor. I email writer friends online, I have a critique partner and I attend a few conferences and retreats. I joined Liz in Albion this past weekend. She wrote an eloquent blog about it yesterday: /via @wordpressdotcom.

Forgive me if piggyback on her theme, but I truly do believe in the importance of renewing our muses. In three and a half days time, I did that. I not only pulled myself out of a slight writing funk, I finished my current WIP. I chatted with friends who understand those voices in my heads, because they are in their head’s too. I renewed friendships. I drank too much wine. I had a wonderful time.

And I came home happy and rejuvenated. Ready to start my edits and brave the querying process all over again. Because this road – the long one that the unpublished writer begins without knowing what or just how far a journey lies around that first bend – can be a very lonely and deserted road. It has bumps and potholes and sometimes craters that we have to negotiate around. But it is the road that we have chosen. The unknown and less traveled one.

And to share that road, that journey, can be a remarkable thing.

Do you renew your muse? How so?


Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Idaho


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18 responses to “Writing and Renewal

  1. johannaharness

    October 19, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    Congratulations on finishing your WIP. What a great feeling.

    Your trip to Albion with Liz just keeps sounding better. Such fun!

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM

      It was great. Much needed and very productive.

  2. ramblingsfromtheleft

    October 19, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    Meredith, this is indeed a long and rocky road we travel. First … great job on your WIP 🙂 All my life I lived in NYC, what might be the polar opposite of where you live . I retired to a part of south Florida that is laughingly called, New York South. I have writer’s groups, and two great readers, yet I rely more on those writers I met on line. Writer’s Digest Community and RWA-WF on line has given me great contacts and exposure to valuable feed back. When I need to renew or stir up the muse, I read, watch movies, listen to music or work with my hands. No matter the inspiration, I still put myself to the task of writing something every day and find the act of “just to it” also gets my juices flowing. Keep traveling down that road and perhaps we’ll meet at a crossroad, I might be that pesky scarecrow hanging on a post. Look for me 🙂

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:03 PM

      I hear you on the “just to it” attitude. It helps! I’ll keep my eye out for certain. The more writer friends the better!!!

  3. Janis McCurry

    October 19, 2011 at 7:05 AM

    I think the networking with other writers and writer-friends renews me the most. Thanks, Meredith. Keep warm this winter!

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:04 PM

      I agree Janis – there is nothing quite like being around other writers!! I will stay warm!

  4. Liz Fredericks

    October 19, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    So, Mer. When I opened up GSW today, I looked through your blog (and I’ll get to that in a moment) and there, tucked at the end by the promotion fairies, was an advertisement for Glenn Ellen wine and ‘winning a family reunion’. Aside from the wine (seriously, can there be any more signs from the universe?), it occurs to me that this writing family – and Ms. Ramblingsfromtheleft articulated it beautifully – can be one of our most treasured sources of ‘the muse’. Whenever you write about your small town, you do it with such poetry. We’ll miss you when the snow starts flying, but it’s nice that our writing friends are often only an email away. That being said, I can’t wait for the next ‘retreat to the muse’ and MP3.

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:05 PM

      Thanks Liz – I’m still not sure that Peggy and I will live down the MP3!!!

  5. Peggy Staggs

    October 19, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Albion was great. It gave me a wonderful glimpse into small town life. We were instantly embraced by all, from the waitress at the café to the kids in line in front of us at the Haunted mansion. The too short trip revived my creative juices and sparked some interesting ideas. Here’s to the MP3’s and next spring.

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:05 PM

      Agreed and I can’t wait to read about Jack and Ensley!!!!!!

  6. Clarissa Southwick

    October 19, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    Congratulations on finishing your book, Meredith. That’s a major accomplishment. As for renewing the muse, I’m lucky to live in a very supportive writing community. We get together weekly to hash through whatever might get in the way of our writing. It really does help to have people who understand the problems a writer deals with.

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:06 PM

      I’ve heard tales of Friday coffees and Sunday critiques and I think of you all often on those days!!

  7. Sharla Lovelace

    October 19, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Completely relate, Meredith. My town is small too, I’m in a group of small towns, actually, we have more than one stoplight but like you the closest writing group is hours away. So I’m alone in my physical writing but once I found the writing community online several years ago, it was like fireworks lighting the way. Finally! Someone understood the schizo life we live! LOL!

    Congrats on finishing!

    • Meredith Conner

      October 19, 2011 at 6:08 PM

      Thanks Sharla! I’ve enjoyed your comments on RWA-WF and I’m looking forward to reading your book!! Small towns are a creature all their own aren’t they?

  8. Mary Vine

    October 19, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Over the last several years it has been sitting by a creek in NE Oregon that has been the most inspiring for me. Probably because I relax more in the summer and have a chance to do that.
    Congrats on finishing the book!

  9. Meredith Conner

    October 19, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    Thanks. The creek sounds lovely. I have a view of the Teton Mountains outside my windows – nature is amazing and inspiring!

  10. Lynn Mapp

    October 19, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    A muse is a pesky thing. Delicate. I hate to say…easily crushed. The muse needs a lot of care and tending.

  11. Carley Ash

    October 19, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Great blog, Meredith. We should drink wine with our writer friends often.


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