Monday, May 14, 2012

Retreating



Monday: May I tell you something about writing?

I mentioned this a little last week, but I recently went on a writing retreat with some of my very favorite local writing buddies!

Kat, Rachel, Dana, Amaris, Liz, and me

I was in major writing mode, so I didn't get very many pictures, but if you hop over to Dana's blog you can see some pictures that she snapped. 

This retreat was a great idea, and it came at a perfect time for me. I was feeling stalled in my own writing and just getting overwhelmed in life as I tend to do. I was sort of stuck on a part and I was thinking about it a lot, but not really doing. I was making a lot of excuses. 

So, the six of us rented this cabin in Lake Arrowhead and headed up there for the weekend with one goal: WRITING. Some of us were drafting, some of us were revising, and some of us were cutting, but all of us had goals we wanted to achieve and were thrilled for the time away from husbands, kids, jobs, and responsibilities to just get it done. 

Our little cabin was the perfect writing haven. Couches and chairs and window seats and a huge kitchen table for us to gather around. We brainstormed and shared our goals and our worries and our ideas, and then we settled into our cozy spots and it was silent. Yes, a house full of six women was total silent. Well, aside from the tapping of the keys and the slurping of the coffee. It was awesome. 

In the end I was way more productive than I even thought I would be. I added 11,000 words to my ms over the course of our retreat. Now, before you throw me a parade, I was able to salvage several scenes I had cut after my story changed direction, so I edited those and added them back in. But that was probably 3-4K...the rest were all brand new words. I was finally able to shake off the funk I had been in with this story and make some major progress, which felt amazing. 

I was also able to do some major bonding with these amazing women and just talk writing with people who understand, which is really priceless. 

Since then I have been trying my hardest to keep up my momentum from the retreat. It's hard when you are thrown back into real life and actually have to worry about things like going to work again, but it's been put back in the forefront of my priorities now, and I'm working my hardest to keep it there. 

I know a writing retreat isn't possible for everyone. It isn't cheap, and not everyone has a whole weekend to get away from reality. But check out this post from my friend Kelsey who set up a little writing retreat in her backyard. You don't always have to go up to the mountains to get in the zone when it comes to your writing, so maybe there is a nice place for you to get away right in your area. 

Have you been on a writing retreat before? Do you have one in the works? Do you think this kind of intensive, all day writing would work for you?

21 comments:

  1. I would LOVE to do a writing retreat and just focus solely on my WiP. Lately it seems like there've been a million other "more important" things to do, and I need to find a way to regain the momentum you spoke of. Glad you were so productive... 11000 is amazing progress!

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    1. Well, to be fair, Katy, you have had a LOT on your plate lately. Once you get settled in to your new place I'm sure your WIP will be priority again. :-)

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  2. I so want to do a writing retreat. I need to find some local writer friends to make something like this possible. And 11,000 words--that's amazing! Who cares if 3-4k were salvaged? That's still work!

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    1. YES...find some local friends and make one happen. It's so much fun, and SO productive!

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  3. I would love to do something like this! Hopefully someday! Yes, I definitely think something like this would work for me. I'd love to talk about writing with other writers, and just focus on writing the whole time.

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  4. I think I'm going to do a Kelsey inspired home retreat this Friday!

    Glad this oen was so productive for you Jess!

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    1. Yay home retreat! I wish I had a nice yard like Kels...take advantage of it! And report back!

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  5. This is inspiring. I'm headed to Paris in June, and while my man is at work, I'm going to go on the patio and make it my writing retreat. Congrats on your word count--that's a heck of a lot of writing in one weekend, especially if you don't include all the Delete Delete Deleted words.

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    1. Oooh, that sounds absolutely perfect!

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  6. I have a tight-knit group of writing friends, and we go once or twice a year. We found the perfect spot (zero distractions, great space), and I've had some major story breakthroughs on our retreats. :)

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    1. YAY RETREATS! Yeah, I really want to make this an annual thing.

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  7. That sounds amazing! A few years ago I went on a business trip with my husband and wrote 15,000 words in a hotel room in Chicago. (Not as peaceful as a lake house, but it got the job done.) I would love to do that again!

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    1. You know...it doesn't always have to be an idyllic location. Somewhere comfy with no distractions is all you need!

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  8. It was such a great experience! So much awesome!!! :D

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    1. SO much awesome. We need to do it again!

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  9. I would love to do a retreat like this. Glad you had such a great experience! Retreats are great motivators, too; they certainly help with writing accountability. I wrote about this kind of stuff in my writing post today. :)

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    1. YES...the accountability was awesome. I'll have to swing by and check out your post!

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  10. Amazing, Jessica! This place looks great and I am so glad you found your groove there...your word count is impressive too! Writing retreats sound great :D Maybe one day...

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    1. You can always make your own mini-retreat...whatever works!

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  11. Congrats on 11k words written! That's really impressive. I went on a writing retreat in February and since it was driving distance away, it wasn't very expensive at all. I can't wait to do it again!

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