Guest post by Jodi Brandon

“Mastermind” is a buzzword in the creative community these days. I have regular virtual writing dates on Zoom with my friend Abby Herman, during which we each declare our intentions for the 60 or 90 minutes, write (whether it’s blog posts, newsletters, or something else), and then report on what we completed.

There’s just something about the accountability factor that makes me super-productive during these sprints. And since accountability often plays a HUGE part when it comes to book writing, I wondered if a larger writing mastermind could work.

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Back it Up

Let me back up a bit. Last fall, I’d been tossing around the idea of hosting a writing retreat, mainly because I looked for one earlier in 2016 when I was planning to write my book, but I couldn’t find one that was the right fit for me. I wanted to test the idea before doing too much planning (or putting out any money), so I called three of my business friends who I knew had a book in their 2017 plans.

All three of them said that, while a writing retreat sounded cool, what they really needed (and would be interested in) was book planning help. That way, each explained, the retreat itself would feel successful; they’d already have been writing regularly. It was so strange that these three women had almost the exact same thoughts and even used the same phrasing! (I did confirm that they had not talked to each other. Paranoia was getting the best of me.)

Back to the Drawing Board

I started brainstorming again, wondering if it would be possible to serve these (and other) women without losing the live retreat element.

I came up with a combination virtual retreat kickoff event (to give people everything they need to start writing: think research plan and writing schedule), followed by an eight-week writing mastermind (with guest experts as well as writing studio time), and culminating in a live writing retreat – which is now full!

The mastermind will allow for measurable writing progress, week-to-week, so that these books can be published in 2017. The guest experts will cover topics that the authors will need to think about before completing a manuscript, such as their book cover, their ISBN, and permissions.

Then at the live retreat, content will cover what comes next:

  • finding an editor and designer
  • deciding on a self-publishing company
  • setting the price
  • creating a launch/marketing plan
  • and more!

In short, this program ALMOST makes me want to write another book just so I can participate and not just follow along and provide feedback. I am so excited to see how it goes and watch more entrepreneurs’ books come to life in 2017!

Live Events: You’ve Gotta Be There

I didn’t want to sacrifice the live aspect of the program, because I have loved the conferences and events I’ve attended (most notably for the creative community, Inspired Retreat and the Savvy Experience). The in-person connection with those who “get” you and what you do cannot be overstated. Every time I attend such an event, I come home with a notebook filled with ideas that I couldn’t wait to implement.

Writing and publishing a book can do so much for your business in a short time frame (grow your platform, provide instant credibility, increase your know-like-trust factor, open the door to media and speaking opportunities), and networking and idea-sharing for a couple days with others who are writing, who have published, and who work in the publishing industry will be like Christmas morning!

The best live events, in my mind, are those that inspire me to dream and grow in my business but that also provide actionable business knowledge that I can apply, like, yesterday.

Have you ever been to retreat or a conference?

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Jodi Brandon has more than 20 years’ experience in book publishing. Jodi’s passion these days is working as a book editor and writing/publishing coach for creative entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who want to level up their business with a book. Connect with Jodi at!


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