Sandra and I have returned from the 2018 Writing Excuses Retreat. This was the sixth year the event has been held, and it was the fourth year it’s been held aboard a ship.
It was wonderful.
Sure, I got to see the ship’s medical bay¹, and I’m nine pounds heavier than I was two weeks ago, but it was totally worth it. I ruined comedy for all the students by showing them how the sausage is made, I saw a sunrise take shape across the Gulf of Mexico, and as an unexpected and delightful bonus I got back just in time to celebrate NASA’s 60th birthday on stage for an episode of Houston, We Have a Podcast.²
We’ll open registration for next year’s event sometime in the next three weeks, but you can pencil in some dates on your calendar now.
WXR19 runs from September 13th to the 25th of 2019, starting in Houston, and progressing to Galveston, then setting sail. I think it’s around $1,900 for nine days of writing, instruction, networking, and flash-mobbing one of the bars on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.
I’m already looking forward to it, but I’m also quite happy to be home. I’ve got comics to draw, and (at least) nine pounds to lose.
¹ Laryngitis. Very annoying, but at least I was done teaching by that point.
² Our episode will air in mid-October. I’ll link to it, because holy crap I was in the auditorium in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and they gave me a live mic.
This September I’ll be at WXR 2018, the Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat, which will sail from Galveston Texas on a really big ship. The event begins on September 22nd, and wraps up on September 30th. There’s a day of prep sessions in Galveston, on the 22nd, and then head out into the ocean.
If writing retreats are your thing, and if you’re interested in learning from industry professionals, you should consider joining us.
It costs about what a Caribbean cruise costs, and it’s coming right up so scheduling time away from home might be tricky, but if you’ve got the discretionary resources to make it happen, it’s absolutely worth it¹. All the relaxation of a 7-day cruise, with all the motivational super-charging of hanging out with writers.
The links take you directly to the registration page, which has a handy FAQ down at the bottom.
¹ Here’s a page linking to testimonials from attendees at previous WXR events. I wouldn’t say “it’s absolutely worth it” without some backup.
Sandra and I are on our way home from Sint Maarten, dieseling across the eastern Caribbean with 180 fellow Writing Excuses Retreat delegates.
The event has been delightful. We still have a full day at sea tomorrow, so it’s not over, but Oasis of the Seas is not stopping again until Ft Lauderdale. That wake behind us is going to be a constant feature for the next 36 hours.
This largest-ship-in-the-world class of vessel is amazing, but I think I like my gargantunormous floating resorts a bit smaller. And the plan, as of this writing, is for next year’s Writing Excuses Retreat (#WXR17) to be held on a smaller ship on a different patch of ocean. We’re still finalizing the details (and getting the best prices we can) but I’m authorized to tell you that we’re going to Europe, and that the cruise will be timed to let delegates debark in time for a quick flight to Helsinki, for the World Science Fiction Convention.
I’ll post full details here and at writingexcuses.com in advance of registration opening. The plan (again, as of this writing) is to open registration on January 1st of 2017.
You probably want a full convention report before considering attending. I’ll make sure to post links to reports from attendees. Their voices carry more weight than mine, so it’s better for you (and easiest for me!) if I simply amplify.
I’m headed for the eastern Caribbean with the Writing Excuses team aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas¹. The blog posts here may go a little stale, as updating the blog from the ship² is time consuming.
We board on Saturday, and return a week later. If you want to play the “where is Howard” game, you can follow this link to track the Oasis of the Seas. I’ll probably be using the same link (connectivity permitting) to figure out where the heck we are.
We are not going to be anywhere near icebergs. Also, there are plenty of lifeboats. Nobody makes claims like “unsinkable” anymore, but Oasis of the Seas can boast about being five times larger than Titanic.
When her keel was laid she was the largest cruise ship in history. Today she’s within 18 inches or so of that spot, but has been bested by only two other ships (also owned and operated by Royal Caribbean.)
Before boarding the giant ship I need to stock the buffer with comics for you to read, and I need to pack big stacks of work that I can do while I’m at sea. It’s not a proper vacation if I’m not getting some work done, after all.
¹Oasis of the Seas seems like an odd name, but since the ship has fresh water in the middle of a “desert” of non-potable salt water, I suppose the definition of “oasis” can be stretched to fit.
²”Ship,” not “boat.” Crew members and staff are happier when you say “ship.”