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Most days, I write alone. Often, I write in bed.

In the dark.

In a cave made of comforters and warmed by the breath of my sleeping dog.

By the dim light of orange words on a black screen (full screen mode in Scrivener).

This is me writing at the Quirk and Quill retreat:

Writer friend, Mary Winn Heider says it looks like Halloween, and “doesn’t that hurt your back?” Sometimes, but I love Halloween, and I prop up with lots of pillows. I like that it lets me tap into my subconscious, that it makes writing feel like dreaming, that the only barrier between me and the words on the screen is my fingers’ ability to keep up with my thoughts.

And then some days, I fall asleep writing in bed. Where is my Wonder Twin Zan saying, “We’ve got to stay awake, Jayna!”

Where is the ice unicycle that will aid my giant octopus in defeating those aliens? Or, you know, writing 1,000 words before it’s time to go to work?

My first experience with writing in public was in 2006. A classmate in a Young Adult Novel class taught by Cecil Castellucci told me about what he called “Power Writing.”

It sounded “powerful.” And maybe fun. So we met at a cafe, plugged our laptops in, set a timer, and wrote. Power!

Later in class, Cecil would give us exercises and invite people to read aloud. I am not the read-aloud-after-writing type, but the force of a room full of people scribbling away is strong. It made me write.

“Power Writing” works for me, but I rarely make group writing sessions happen for myself. Checking in with an online support system, like the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter, helps, but it isn’t the same as the present energy of other writers at work.

Recently, I met up with two other VCFA’ers in Chicago, Mary Winn Heider and Amy Rose Capetta, and we plugged in around Mary Winn’s dining table. We started late, 9pm on a weeknight. I never write at night. I never write with friends. I never write when I’ve worked all day and have reason to be tired. But sitting with those two ladies and listening to our keys (all MacBooks) snap-tapping, I wrote more than twice my usual word count for one session.

And I loved what I wrote.

And we’re going to do it again. Power up!

Cross-posted at The Storybook Girl

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