Tag Archives: Writing Retreat

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Alaska at 40 below

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going to Fairbanks for a writing retreat.

Yes. I said Fairbanks. Alaska. In January.

Here’s the thing, last fall I was in a bad mental space as a writer. I felt grumpy, unworthy, and had imposters syndrome breathing down my neck.

So, when Craig Martelle put out a call for writers to come to his home town for a writing retreat, I was like, “Fine, I’ll sign up for your stupid retreat and you can reject me and validate my feelings that I’m a failure as a writer.”

Three days later I got the invite to come.

I was shocked. I might have cried, and this was the conversation opener with the hubby. “Uh…honey…do you want to come to Alaska with me?”

He, of course, said yes!

What goes on at a writing retreat?

Well, at this one, eight authors sat around a table and did writing sprints for six to eight hours a day. We would type like crazy for 20-30 minutes, then chat for a bit, get up, stretch, walk the dog, and then write again.

Over the course of three days I put 20,000 words on the page! That’s not my biggest number for a retreat, but it’s up there, and I’m thrilled with it!

Between typing and eating, we did things like go outside.
(Hey, when it’s in the -30F range that’s a big deal.)

We made snow angels. (Click here if you’re on Facebook to see the video!)

We drove during the sunset…at 4pm.

We went to some natural hot springs, and froze our hair!

And we stood outside in -40F to take a picture.

And we saw three moose!

It was fun to get to know writers from around the country. It was amazing to experience that kind of cold weather. It was refreshing to get that many words written on a project that’s been kicking my trash.

All in all, I had a great time.
But I’m not sure I’d go back when it was quite that cold.

I sent this meme to the group when, the week after we were there, it warmed up to 0 degrees.

The one thing we missed was the Northern Lights. 🙁
I guess that mean’s we’re going back to Alaska or Iceland. How sad.

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The Long Awaited Writing Retreat!

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I’ve been dying for a writing retreat for months. Ever since my last one, really.

I might be addicted. What’s it to you?

People often ask me why I like writing retreats. I’m a full-time writer with no kids at home, so basically my entire life is a retreat. Right?

Not really.

Even sitting in my office during writing time, I feel chores trying to pull me from my chair.

Oh look, the laundry pile is getting pretty high.
How long has it been since I dusted?
Is that a dead bug on the carpet, or a fuzzy thing?
Better vacuum to make sure.
Close your eyes in the bathroom, because those corners look terrible.
Don’t get me started about the baseboards.
Did I take the trash out this morning?
The roses are getting long…

I honestly don’t know how parents get anything done with kids on top of all that. Gold stars for all of you!

Getting away from my house is invaluable. It gets me out of my typical head-space and allows me to focus on whatever I need to work on.

The only distraction is the internet, which I avoid as much as possible.

This past weekend I got about 15k words written. That’s actually a low word count for me for a retreat. Normally that would be disheartening, but I re-wrote the first 10k words of my science fiction story for the sixth or seventh time. My brain whined about it until I got past 10k, and then it took off.

Getting out of my normal routine and surroundings gave me the chance to create a new beginning for this story. I think it’s good.

Not everyone can get away for a retreat, but sometimes just moving to a new room will help.

Here are a few pictures from this past weekend.

Thursday evening when I arrived
Sunday morning when I left.
Two hours later at my house.

That was first winter. It’s all gone now, but it will be back.

What do you do to get out of your own head?

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