Raleigh “Writers Retreat” Offered Writing Support, Relaxation

Bill Cokas found a quiet spot on the porch for writing during the retreat. Photo: Jackie Dove-Miller, Louisburg NC.
Bill Cokas found a quiet spot on the porch for writing during the retreat. Photo: Jackie Dove-Miller, Louisburg NC.

Franklin County Arts Council’s Writers Guild Brought Local Authors Together for One-Day Retreat

By Donna Campbell Smith

Twenty-four writers came together at Falls Lake State Park’s Rolling View Community Building last Saturday for a day of feeding the muse.

This was third retreat sponsored by the Franklin County Arts Council (FCAC) Writers Guild. Each year attendance has grown with writers from across the state attending.

Speaker and award-winning novelist Nancy Peacock opened the retreat with a workshop titled “How to Keep a Writing Practice Going While Still Holding Down a Day (or night) Job.” She reminded the writers that everyone has 168 hours in a week and it is up to them to find out where their time goes and decide how they want to spend it. She offered ideas on making the most of little bits of time and how to develop a writing practice while holding down a job.

USA Today best-selling romance authors, Tammy Falkner and Erin Knightley talked to the group about finding readers in unexpected ways and gave some creative tips on book marketing including making the most of social media and networking. They pointed out that self-published writers are making a viable presence in the publishing world. Tammy and Erin both are successful as traditionally published and self-published authors. They talked the pros and cons of both methods.

Between the workshops the writers had time to write while enjoying the sun and sand on the lake shore. They had the opportunity to read and share their writing with the group and were led in some prompt-writing sessions. Nancy Peacock closed the day with a writing exercise and the Amherst Method of critique, which focuses on creating a positive environment for the writer.

Guild member, Jackie Dove-Miller said,

“The 2016 FCAC Writers’ Retreat was the best.  The three speakers gave participants golden advice for managing their writing time and using untraditional marketing.  The writing prompts helped us see our writing as something alive with which we can form an intimate relationship.  The setting was perfect.  Rolling Pines is such a serene environment and the weather that day could not have been better.  Everyone left smiling and excited about going back to our unfinished or unpublished writings, ready to take new steps to meeting our writing goals.”

Pamela Andrejev, FCAC coordinator and first time attendee to the writers retreat remarked, “Whether you were a novice to writing or a writer wanting more guidance, this retreat offered valuable information for both. We were fortunate to have three successful, published authors share their expertise. Their willingness to assist us today and in future is priceless.”

The retreat was also Everett Mayo’s first time as a participant. He said, “I learned some valuable things at the workshop. The three presenters were engaging and knowledgeable… was allotted time to write…wrote a blog for business…and enjoyed the fellowship of other writers…enjoyed hearing their questions and listening to some read. Well spent time for a modest fee. I’d do it again.”

Anyone interested in joining FCAC Writers Guild can email Donna Campbell Smith for information.

The FCAC Writers Guild is online at www.fcacarts.org/writers_guild.aspx. The writers meet meet monthly on the fourth Thursday, at 6pm, in the FCAC gallery — 22 S Main Street, in Franklinton NC — and hold the retreat annually.

Franklinton NC is 30+ minutes northeast of Raleigh NC. Located in Franklin County, the town of Franklinton is online at www.franklintonnc.us and is home to approximately 2,000 residents.

About Donna Campbell Smith 63 Articles
Donna Campbell Smith, an author based in Franklinton NC, worked in the horse industry for over thirty years as an instructor, trainer, breeder, and writer. She has an AAS Degree in Equine Technology from Martin Community College and is a certified riding instructor. Smith has written four non-fiction books on equine management: The Book of Donkeys, (The Lyons Press 2016) The Book of Miniature Horses (The Lyons Press 2005), The Book of Draft Horses (The Lyons Press 2007), and The Book of Mules (The Lyons Press 2009. All her books are available at Amazon.com or ask for them at a bookstore near you. Donna is a member of Franklin County Arts Council. Visit her website at www.donnacampbellsmith.com.