Writing Excuses is Awesome

The last couple of days, I talked about some unpleasant stuff. Tonight, let’s be positive!

Writing Excuses is a podcast that is, ostensibly, fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and they’re not that smart (or so they claim). But the episodes are often longer than that. Sometimes when I’m listening to them, I’m not in that much of a hurry. And, they are demonstrably smart and good at what they do.

It kind of sounds like I’m saying that the people of Writing Excuses are liars, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

As a podcast, they’ve been going for quite some time. It started as Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor, eventually picking up Mary Robinette Kowal around season 4 or so. Those were the primary hosts, but they’ve expanded to have lots of different hosts. DongWon Song and Erin Roberts will be on the primary cast soon, which is fantastic, because I think the world of both of them, too.

Almost none of what I’ve said is news. They’ve won Hugos. They’re well established, and they offer great advice. So why am I talking about them tonight?

They host writing retreats, some of which are on cruise ships. Melissa and I have now attended four of these. We just got back from the latest a couple weeks ago. These are great events. They mean a lot to me. At times they’re instructional. Other times relaxing. Sometimes hilarious. Occasionally stressful. They’re adventures, hosted by people that really care about the community that they’ve built.

This last one, they went above and beyond.

Melissa and I attended in 2021, and no one got Covid during that retreat. We were hopeful that 2022 would be the same, but that wasn’t the case. A bunch of us caught it, and it wasn’t the fault of the cruise. We probably caught it at the hotel, before getting on the ship.

The Writing Excuses hosts made sure that those of us stricken with the plague did not feel left behind. And we weren’t just offered emotional support, though that was there and much appreciated. They made sure we had a place to stay in Galveston, since we weren’t going to be able to travel for a while. They put us up in a pair of AirBnB’s. Mary Robinette specifically stayed in Galveston herself, though she wasn’t infected, and she checked in on us to make sure we had everything we needed.

It feels like I’m understating this. The tail end of our cruise got obliterated by a virus, forcing us to go into isolation, but an effort was made to make it feel like we just had a longer vacation. An extended retreat.

I felt comfortable enough that I wrote while holed up in Galveston. I finished my latest novelette, which I’m currently calling The Writer, the Knight, and the Lady.

Writing Excuses is awesome. It’s made of good people, and it attracts good people. If you haven’t checked out the podcast, you should.