When people ask how I get ideas for my novels, I tell them that a writer's mind is like that junk drawer in your kitchen. You throw all kinds of things into that drawer: paper clips, rubber bands, business cards. Likewise, writers go around collecting snippets of dialogue overheard.
We are happiest when we're in our native environments, scribbling in journals or tapping out love stories and action scenes and terrifying near-death experiences on our keyboards. Writing is the only cure for publishing a novel. The sooner we get back to it, the better.
Unfortunately, a writing retreat, there's always the letdown. You come back and family life is the same exhilarating, exhausting Bermuda Triangle it always is. And there your bag sits with those fresh pages of your novel, untouched, as mine has been for the past four days since coming home.
First of all, let's define 'pro:' for the purposes of this article, a pro is someone who earns his/her primary income from writing. My friend Toby Neal and I are pros, with multiple novels and credits of various kinds under our belts.
What is it like to finish a novel? The first time you do it, you feel utter euphoria, and you should. Unfortunately, what follows isn't always instant acceptance by an agent, an editor, or even your beta readers and friends.