Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Writers' retreat

I went on a writers' retreat this weekend. It was an easy and inexpensive trip – I never left my house.

It started out as a kind of favor to my good friend, the wonderful writer, Ann Parker, who blogged about it yesterday. With too many distractions at her house, which fits pretty much all of us at one time or other, she needed a quiet place to get back into the zone of her third novel in the Silver Rush series. I invited her to stay in our guest room for the weekend. She brought her flash drive and lots of chocolate (she knows me well) and my IT husband set her up with a computer, streaming classical music, and a couple of TV trays for a desk. I promised I wouldn't bother her except to call her for meals.

We have no view of the ocean or rolling hills, just our newly tan-barked front lawn. But maybe that's a good thing when you're trying to create your own fictional environment.

For Ann's sake, I gave up things I would normally do on a "free day." The washer/dryer is right behind the guest room, so no laundry work for a couple of days. I usually take a TV movie break in the evening, but that would be too noisy right outside her room. Our house is not that big, so I felt I shouldn't have long telephone conversations, as voices carry.

Also no errands, in case my guest needed something. And certainly no vacuuming, or other noisy housework.

Finally, it didn't seem right for me to be reading at leisure while Ann was working. So what was left?

I had to write myself. So, like most "favors" the giver got more than the receiver.

The result was an enormous output for both of us and a promise to do it again. We recommend the practice!


Anonymous said...

What a good friend you are (and relative)! So, do you ever vacuum anyway? xoxoxo

Camille Minichino said...

ouch, anonymous, that hurt!
I'll have you know that my little dustbuster makes a lot of noise!

Betty Hechtman said...

How nice of you, Camille. Nice that you got a lot of writing done, too.

I set something similar up for myself a few weeks ago. I spent ten days in Chicago. I did do a book signing of Hooked on Murder at the Printers Row Fair, and I was babysitting for my Chicago neighbor's cat, but the rest of the time it was pure writers retreat. Who cared if I ate my take out dinner at midnight? Or if I fell asleep in my clothes?

Monica Ferris said...

What a great idea! A real "retreat" without dealing with a bunch of fellow writers (leading to panels, late-night talking, excitement, sight-seeing, etc.). I would like to do something like that for a fellow writer, and hope to have the favor returned. A quiet house, someone else doing the cooking, no distractions . . . heavenly!

zhadi said...

What a nice thing to do for a friend, and with added writing benefits for yourself too! not to mention the chocolate...

Anonymous said...

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Mini Hugs
Lisa (Lilwitchy)