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Tuesday, April 3, 2012


For the last year in the quest to get published (and stay published for some), members of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America started going to prison. Yep, you heard me. The slammer. The big house. Wait! Before you run away, let me explain.

Between the demands of jobs, families, and household duties, some of the members were barely able to grab a few minutes here and there out of their hectic weeks to write. And without writing, of course, there is no chance of getting published or staying published. Ideas were brainstormed on how to find more writing time. From that, prison was born.

In its early stages, prison meant going to a member's house for the day to write. Any and all were welcome, but only for those who were serious about working. Prison would begin in the morning and continue until dinner time, usually in one hour blocks - one hour of writing followed by one hour of brainstorming or problem solving and/or eating. (We all know brains need to be nourished to produce.) This took place once/month or so. But soon it wasn't enough.

Since then, prison has evolved into meeting at a local coffee house (which shall not be named, but begins with the letter "P"). The group meets Saturday at 8:00 a.m. (no sleeping in for these dedicated writers). After an hour of talking all things books and publishing, with a few pics of someone's granddaughter thrown in and a couple of discussions about movies, etc.), the group gets down to business. If the productivity is thriving, it's not uncommon for some to stay until 2:00 in the afternoon. And guess what? Several repeat the process the next day too!

I am amazed at the dedication that these writers have in the journey of getting published and staying published. These people share their personal journeys and the ups and downs of publishing with each other. They laugh together, hug each other, and support each other. They have formed a bond beyond measure.

And I am honored to be a part of this amazing group of writers. 

So even though I sound like a TV commercial, today, my friends, I salute you for your dedication, your love of the written word, and the awesomeness of your talent.

Don't forget Fork It Up Fridays where I share a favorite recipe. Stop by Friday for...
Ha! You'll have to stop back to see what's cookin'.


Rue Allyn said...

Terrific idea. Wish I lived close enough to join you.

Constance Phillips said...

Jenna, I'm proud to be one of your fellow inmates. When I think of all the pages I've written that wouldn't have happened without this time, it amazes me.

Kristina Knight said...

I love the idea of Prison...wish I was closer and could join you guys more often!!

D'Ann said...

Hi, Jenna.
I used to have something similar with an in-town crit group. It was great, and I miss it.

D'Ann said...

Hi, Jenna.
I used to have something similar with an in-town crit group. It was great, and I miss it.

Karen Baldwin said...

Oh, this is why I miss you guys. I never attended Panera Prison, but did one fantastic Saturday at your house.

Unknown said...

Rue: Unfortunately, yes, it works best if you're closer. But maybe you could find writers close to you who would be interested in doing this.

Constance: Ditto! When we first started this, I had my doubts about being able to write in that environment. But somehow it works out great.

Kristina: Maybe someday we could have a prison field trip and head your way!

D'Ann: Maybe you could get one started up again? It works out so well that I would miss it horribly if we stopped doing it.

Em: Yes, I remember that day. We always had so much good food when we had it at someone's house. Maybe it's time to do that again. Can't wait to see you next time you're home!

Hope you have a great afternoon, ladies. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by.

Shay Lacy said...

Jenna: For me being surrounded by other writers at Prison increases my dedication. There might be an aspect of competition too, some days anyway. I'm glad you're an inmate too.

Unknown said...

And we also appreciate you, our warden!