writing life update

Oh my! Can I just say I am now a huge believer in writing retreats? I wasn’t sure if it would make that big of a difference in my writing life. I have a solid writing habit, and I feel productive as a writer. I wasn’t sure if it was worth juggling schedules, hiring babysitters, and packing a suitcase.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My list was ambitious. Although I didn’t complete it all, there were many unexpected ways my writing life was nourished. So a little recap. (Well, it was going to include pictures, but due to slow tech stuff, words will have to suffice.)
On a swing overlooking big tall trees is where I worked on my annotated list of 50 article ideas. I only made it to 47 by the end of the writing retreat; but I gave others ideas, so I netted over 50. That counts, right? My list became a bit of a joke with the other writers, which makes me love it even more.
I also wrote an article on that swing. It’s one that’s been spinning in my mind, and I’m happy the words came out of my fingers so smoothly. I wanted to write two articles, but only completed one. The second is now close to finished.
Inside the cabin in an overstuffed rocking chair, surrounded by windows looking out at the big tall trees is where I almost finished Celebrating Writers. I revised the opening chapter, writing a new lead and reorganzing the parts. I also made a list of figures, images, citations, and appendix pieces I need to gather. Once these bits are collected, and I write the acknowledgments and closing thoughts, it will be sent to my editor. This will happen before I return to school or you have permission to send gremlins my way.
There were all kinds of nooks perfect for writing. I had several conferences and lots of time to sit and think. I made myself slow down. Made myself. I can’t believe what a fast pace I move. It’s good to slow down. Plus I came home with a new stack of books about writing. I find myself paging through all of them because I just can’t choose one to read. 
I received some insightful feedback on my lead and query letter for my YA novel and spent some time thinking deeply about the characters in the opening scene, as well as how to use some foreshadowing to hook the reader’s interest. I’m itching to write and spent several hours working on opening scene today.
I came home with a refreshed writing soul. I didn’t even realize it was in need of nourishment. I think I’ll be sustained for awhile, but now I know the importance of spoiling your writer self. I think you should go do some spoiling for yourself right now.
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12 Comments »

  1. I'm so glad you took the time to do this for yourself. “I came home with a refreshed writing soul” seems to sum it up best. The challenges of daily living are removed when you are on a retreat. You sound happy, perfect I say.

  2. I love the idea of taking care of myself, and not “finding” time to write, but “making” time to write.
    Happy for you. Happy you made the effort. Thank you for sharing your retreat.

  3. Yay for writing retreats. I am a believer. It's fortunate that the Portland area has a house to rent a room for a day retreat but multi- day retreats are the best. Good for you.

    I reflected on my writing practice today as well.

  4. I am so happy for you to have such an amazing retreat. It seems like the perfect thing to re-energize. Here's to many more writing retreats in the future. I was going to add “at just the right times”, but then again it seems like a writing retreat at any time could be perfect.

  5. “I couldn't have been more wrong” touches me, Ruth. There are just those things that we seem to resist, but when they happen, voila-just right. Thanks for telling about this; I'm so happy it worked out so beautifully.

  6. This sounds like an amazing experience for you! I think it sounds like the perfect thing to do during the summer and I can't believe how productive you were! Did you sleep? I am glad it worked out well for you.

  7. My sister has been on many a writing retreat and is always so energized afterward. I fantasize about what it must be like and your story of progress here sounds like success! I hope, one day, someday I will have a group and a place to retreat to fill my writing well. What a great experience you shared here.

  8. Sounds wonderful! Some days I wish I could just pack up and disappear for a few days. Though having other writers along for the ride (and the feedback) would be fabulous as well.