Retreating to write

I am tired. I spent the last five days at a writing retreat–The Rainforest Writers Village founded and run by the fabulous and talented Patrick Swenson. I went with approximately thirty other writers to a place on Lake Quinault in the Olympic Rainforest in Washington. There was barely any wifi and precious little cell coverage. It snowed. We

Rainforest in the snow

didn’t watch TV and we didn’t surf the web.

Everyone had a different purpose at the retreat. Some wanted to edit. Some wanted to draft. Some wanted to finish a project and others to start one. The one commonality we all had was that we wanted to work in a place where we had no outside distractions or responsibilities. And we wanted to talk to each other.

We socialized mostly at meals, and sometimes on a walk or maybe a break between writing runs. We didn’t talk a lot about our lives. We talked about writing. The subjects ranged everywhere from traditional publishing to indie publishing; from how to write sex scenes to what markets are hot right now; from how to keep focused to fun writing moments we might have had that day; from contracts to Amazon to Kobo and more. This was our chance to learn and to share what we know. And we got silly. Very silly.

This is my fifth year attending this retreat, and I plan to go next year. I count on it to help stir my creativity if I’m feeling moribund from the winter and holidays, or to let me fly if I’m raring to go. The mix of people ranged from unpublished to well-published. That’s the nice thing about writers–it doesn’t matter what stage of your career you’re at, we are a welcoming bunch.

Between Wednesday between 8 p.m. and Sunday at 11:00 a.m., I wrote a little more than 23,000 words. I love it when I can write fast. I stay ahead of the little imposter demons that nibble at my confidence, and I get the entire story down before I forget part of it. Plus I pull on that same kind of energy you get from the downward sweep of a roller coaster. It’s excitement and joy and just sheer fun. I call this the zero draft. It’s rough to say the very least, but I believe that the writing is in the revision. That’s where you finesse and turn your lump of clay into a work of art. The key is to get that lump of clay in front of you.

I can’t wait to keep going.



Retreating to write — 7 Comments

  1. Sounds wonderful. I created my own writer’s retreat by informing my dysfunctional extended family (operating in perpetual crisis mode, with lots of calling me for help because I “don’t have a job”) that I was going away for two months and could take only emergency phone calls. It worked! I got chapters written!