The Single Best Thing I Did For Myself As An Author

Paula Jean Ferri
4 min readOct 12, 2021

There are lots of great things that can improve our writing skills, our ability to sell, and produce an overall quality product.

However, one thing, in particular, has stood out from the rest. In November of 2017, I attended my very first writing retreat.

This was something that changed my life in so many ways, it’s hard to really keep track. I’ll list a few of the initial benefits, but each benefit has become its own individual growth process.

Create Quality

I have been writing my entire life, and while this was a writing retreat, I learned so much more about how to create a quality product. From covers to the interior design of a book, to titles, to sizing, and so on.

At this point, I had already published my first book and was about to publish a second. However, this retreat actually delayed the printing so that I could make several very important updates to make sure I was creating a quality book.

As much as I love my first book’s content, I’m more proud of my second and third books for the quality that just makes them look and feel more professional.

Not to mention, they sell better.

It’s been said to never judge a book by its cover, but we do. So we have to make sure the cover is something that will catch a person’s eye and actually pick up the book.

People want to know they are getting a quality product when they spend money. Books are about more than just the story.

Better Writing

While people may judge a book by its cover, what’s inside is just as important.

You don’t want to have an amazing cover and a great start to sales, only to have them stop because you keep getting bad reviews.

Oh sure, you won’t be able to please everyone and bad reviews will always be there, but you want more positive than negative ones. And you want people to talk about how awesome your book is, not the opposite.

I’ve been writing since I was eight years old. I like to think I know a thing or two about writing, but there is always more to learn. I don’t think there is any writer so good that they don’t need an editor.

You know what helped me to see that?

Working with other authors.

They gave me tips and insights that have improved my writing ability and helped me to think outside the box.

I love group writing activities where other authors will pick up the story when I get stuck, or I can jump in with new ideas.

Networking & Collaboration

Speaking of, I love getting to know other authors. They make me a better writer, they give advice when I have questions, and best of all, they support me emotionally.

Writing a book is no easy task. I feel Imposter syndrome all the time. Not only do these author friends found at retreats show me that I’m a good writer, but seeing authors I admire deal with the same thing is so validating.

Writing is a rollercoaster of emotions, but it’s always better with friends.

Even more than the other authors that I meet at these retreats, I also met speakers who provided invaluable information and services.

I’ve met editors, formatters, agents, designers, marketers, coaches, and more.

I don’t just turn to other authors if I have a question about book covers, I go directly to a designer.

Each person has been invaluable on their own, but they have all connected me to others who have helped me along my journey as an author.

This alone has been the biggest factor that has changed my career as an author.

FUN

Sometimes being a writer is difficult and frustrating, but being surrounded by others who remind me why I love writing so much just makes things fun.

I remember one meal in particular at a writing retreat and walking past so many discussions on random topics, but were thorough and detailed, and highly intelligent.

For me, these conversations are incredibly fun.

If that isn’t your speed, there are usually other activities that can be done as a group, or even individually with others. One of my favorite retreat activities is making my own leather journal with instructions from My Leather Legacy. It’s my own project but done in the company of others.

I have also seen activities such as movie nights, hiking, group writing activities, and more.

One of my favorite things about being a writer is the need for play and how that enhances creativity.

In those times of play, things just click. I’m able to get out of any slumps I may be in with my writing. Play is central to the creative process and play is more fun with others who bring their own ideas to the table.

Conclusion

Attending a writing retreat was the single best thing I could have done for my career.

Sure, I would have grown on my own, but making an investment in myself and my writing, I have grown exponentially and in a shorter time period.

I could not be where I am today without the ideas, people, and skills I have taken from each writing retreat I have attended.

After attending a few and seeing what they were like, I started hosting my own so that I could attend more frequently. Even as the host, I still learn from the speakers and attendees and am able to improve my writing craft.

So Now What?

If you found any value, please clap up to 50x so others can find this article.

If you are interested in attending a writing retreat, you can click HERE to find out about the ones I host semi-annually, both in person and digitally.

--

--