Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writing in Retreat

We’d talked about it–fantasized really–for months, maybe even years. A girls' weekend/writing retreat with nothing to distract us: no families, no internet (hopefully!), not even each other. We’d stay at a spa and eat healthy meals, have separate rooms, but get together every once in a while to bounce ideas off each other and just have a mental break. At the end of the day we’d relax with massages to ease away all the tension from a long day of writing.

Of course, the price tag gave us a reality check, but we weren’t ready to give up the idea. After all, when it came right down to it, the Motel 6 would serve our purposes just fine, right? But then just like a good novel, a twist: Lori’s husband took the boys camping, but her daughter got sick. Could we just meet at her house?

Definitely cheaper. But would a familiar location be too much of a distraction, especially for Lori with a sick child?


For 24 hours we wrote, stopping briefly to eat, compare notes, sleep. And it worked. I spent my time reworking a story I’d given up on. With quiet time to think about what worked and what didn’t, to experiment, cut, write and rewrite, I found threads I didn’t even know where there. Best of all, I found my mojo again. I was ready to write. Anything. Ideas were bursting over each other, words flowing, aching to come out.

I was so happy I cried on the way back home.

And now I know. Next time I hit a rut, all I have to do is find a quiet stretch of time to focus.

Or send Lori’s family packing for the weekend and move myself back into her house :)


Unknown said...

ROFL at the last part.

My local RWA chapter organized a retreat last year. I have no problems staying at home to write. I get more work done that way. The massages, though, do sound like a great idea.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Glad your time worked out so wonderfully. I love to hear that you were able to rework a story you'd given up on. Awesome!

storyqueen said...


So glad you found your way back to a story. When a story won't let you go,and keeps you trying new things to make it work, there is always a reason for it.

Maybe it is the One.



Bish Denham said...

It would be wonderful to "camp" out with a group of writer girlfriends and write for a week-end. Nice. So glad you got your mojo back!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I was just thinking of you! Hope all is well. xo

Kristan Hoffman said...

Aww... I'm so glad you guys persevered and got some writing time, even if it didn't look the way you'd initially hoped/expected.

And that reconnection with your work? With a story you love? *big sigh* I know that feeling, that overwhelming, indescribable emotion. If only we could bottle it up and take a sip every day, you know? But I don't think that's how this writing life works. So you just be sure to drink up as much as you can, whenever you can. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! Love how you made it work, and the last line is priceless. :D

Kelly Polark said...

Writing retreats are wonderful!
A few years ago I went to my best friend's lakehouse so we could write the whole weekend. We got there and part of the house was flooded after record rains! So half the time we sucked water out of her house but still ended up getting some writing in. I actually got stranded another night there because rain got so heavy during the weekend that so many roads were closed!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

That sounds wonderful!

I have occasionally thought about trying to get some blogger friends to meet me at my Pocono house for a writing retreat, but I worry the place is too small: two bedrooms, a loft, and a fold-out sleeper in the living room. The ones who ended up in the loft and living room would have no privacy.

So far, I've only gone up to the house alone to write. Which is also cool.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Stina: Don't laugh too hard! I might drive up to Canada and take over your house instead :P

Sheri: Thank you -- I've been feeling awesome ever since!

Shelley: It might be the One. Or not. But it just keeps getting better :)

Bish: If I had my way, I'd do it at least once a month. It's a fabulous way to spend a weekend!

Caroline: Thank you for thinking of me. All is well now :)

Kristan: I wish we could bottle that feeling!! Being able to reconnect with my story has been indescribably wonderful, the gift that keeps on giving!

Tricia: We were determined to make it work so I'm glad our determination paid off :)

Kelly: That must have been depressing to find the house flooded! But how cool that you lucked out and got an extra day for your retreat!

Dianne: I might have to convince my husband that we need a cabin somewhere for me to write. Not sure that he'd find it a valid reason for another house payment, though :P

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Awesome!! I love that you have your mojo back. Love, love, love that!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

p.s. I've snuck away to the local cheapo motel for a weekend or two when I'm under a deadline. It's amazing what can happen in that brief burst of intense focus time.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

It's amazing what a little time to clear your head and write can do. I think that's why I've started writing at our local library's quiet room. It gets me away from my comfortable home where distractions are too great and all consuming. I'm amazed at what I've managed to accomplish with this change of setting.

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