I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers Retreat: It's all about the friends (and writing too!)

By Jennie Atkins

One house…seventeen women…three square meals a day plus snacks…two fabulous teachers…one guardian angel…one house mom…five days…three movies…a smattering of sunshine…no husbands or kids…twelve new stories…fourteen plus hours a day of pressing in…five different colors of Post It notes…a little dancing…

New friendships formed…


You can’t live in one house with sixteen other women and not bond. Let’s face it women communicate, share their dreams, and proudly display pictures of their children and grandchildren. Then we let Susie read aloud our “creations”, our works of art, and the words drawn from the depth of our very being.

Talk about baring your souls!!!

I just returned from My Book Therapy’s Deep Thinker’s Retreat in Destin, Florida. The sunshine decided to limit its appearance to one morning, but that didn’t stop us from soaking in all we could from authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. But more importantly, writers bonded.

Although writing is a very personal process, we need a support group. We cannot write a book alone. You can…but…it’s always helpful to be able to bounce concepts and story snippets off someone else, brainstorm different options, or just to be encouraged that you are not the only one stressing over the words in one sentence, or the fact that your character lacks depth. The best part of being a writer (besides a signed contract from a publisher) is getting to know other writers along the journey.

From the start, the writing community has amazed me. Even published authors have been eager to help and cheer me on. Why? Because they’ve struggled just like me and you to create a masterpiece, to make their presence known, and to be published.

From this I can only encourage you to…one…plan on attending the next Deep Thinker’s retreat (my plug for Susie & Rachel), and…two…get involved with other writers.

Now it’s your turn. What friendship have you formed at any of the MBT retreats or other writing events that has helped in your writing adventure?


  1. Excuse me a minute while I pray over my envy and tuck away my coveting.

    I'm so glad you had a fabulous time, Jennie!! I so wish I could have been there. Having gone to the last two Deep Thinkers' Retreats, I know how those friendships can form. And the teaching. And the food. And the laughter.

    The Ponderers formed at the first two MBT retreats. I'm so thankful for my P sisters and the writing/prayer/general encouragement I receive from each of them. Such a great blessing!

  2. Beautiful job, Jennie. You made it live--almost as good as being there. The Ponderer friendships coming from the first Storycrafters retreat remain some of my closest and have changed my life--a blessing from God--nothing like it whether or not my writing hits best seller lists. But these experiences truly help give my writing great form, polish, and its best chance.

  3. Jennie, I am sooooo glad I finally got to meet you at this year's Deep Thinkers retreat! Loved hearing your story and put a live voice to the "voice" I read here on the Ponderers.

    I've met wonderful people, like Lisa and Dee. :) Meeting such amazing women as those who were at DT this year stretched and encouraged me.

    I can say this, I wouldn't still be writing if others in the writing life weren't encouraging and helping me. :)

  4. Aw, this sounds so fun. I'm hoping to attend next year.

    I've met so many amazing women through the blog-o-sphere. Haven't even met them in person (I'm hoping to at ACFW!), and yet they've all been so supportive and sweet.

  5. This is so great, Jennie. I'm glad this year was a blast at DT. I wanted to be there sooooo badly. MBT has truly changed not only my writing life, but life in general. So many friends spread out in so many places. I thank God so often for opening the door to that first Storycrafters Retreat...

    And I've got my fingers crossed about DT next year. :)

  6. I have made so many friends through Deep Thinkers and through My Book Therapy. They have changed my writing life, my "real" life, my spiritual life. Can't wait until next year!

  7. Jennie,
    I would not be anywhere near to continuing on in my writing journey if it wasn't for the friends I've made at MBT!

    It was great being with you!

    Alena T.

  8. I'm thankful Beth urged me to go. This MBT Retreat jump-started my writing. I'm grateful for Susie's amazing teaching, Rachel's keen insight, Alena's delicious food, and the friendships formed with the wonderful women who attended--I can't wait to read your novels! But I missed Lisa and the other P's who weren't able to attend!

  9. The friendships that I have formed at StoryCrafters and Deep Thinkers have been some of the most important friendships I could have. To have friends who understand when you say you "Have voices" in your head is an amazing feeling.

    I try to share my writing with others and all they can say is, "That's nice" because they just don't get it when you're excited about the character who walked into the scene when they weren't suppose to. Or when you cry because one dies.

    And this doesn't even touch on the prayer you share, the faith, the struggles and triumphs. These ladies are amazing and I could not develop as a writer of person they way I do without them.

    I love these gals!

    I say go to a MBT retreat. You WILL NOT be disappointed.

  10. I was so thrilled to see you again, Jennie - and to share in your joy at all your opportunities and how your writing has grown over the past few years. More than that, I agree about the deep friendships made at these retreats - we come as individual writers and leave as a team of craft partners and friends. I think it might be God's secret way to get us into that deeper place with Him as we grow together. :) Hope to see you all next year!!