From Edith, in the only-partially frozen reaches north of Boston.
Many of you know I am fond of going away on writing retreats. Addicted, one might even say! Even if all I do is occupy a friend’s empty house in the next town, I love getting away from home (and all the obligations and joys thereof) to focus on nothing but writing. A couple of weeks ago I had a hugely productive solo five days at a friend’s empty beach house not far from my town. And I have my routine down by now: what I bring, what I wear, how I work.
So I thought I’d poll some other authors pals who also like to go on retreat – some of whom I have been on retreat with, but not all – to see how their experiences compare with mine. Here are answers to my questions from Tiger Wiseman, Ramona DeFelice Long, Liz Milliron, and Holly Robinson – their bios are at the end of the post. Thanks for sharing, ladies (mind you, none of them saw the other’s answers).
Caveat One: I have edited down the responses a bit in the interest of space and reading time. Caveat Two: Everyone had such interesting and useful things to say (well, they’re writers, after all!), the post was getting really long. So I’ve split it into two parts. We’ll have the second part a month from now. This part has more to do with the purpose and feel of a retreat, while Part II will get into some of the practical side.
T: Knowing I won’t have to worry about anything except being creative and productive –
things that normally fall second to mundane necessities of cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.
T: I prefer being with others in a structured environment. I like the company of others after the writing day is over, but during writing hours I want total silence.
L: I like going with others as long as there are solitary writing times built in to the schedule. I’m fairly good at shutting out the world, but knowing that this is my time and I’m relieved of the burden of being social lets me really concentrate. But all writers get stumped, so having a group to brainstorm with is always
nice. And of course, after the writing is over, hanging with friends for snacks and wine is a great way to recharge for the next day’s writing.
H: I usually go to mid-coast Maine in winter, because it’s so quiet and it’s very cheap to
rent condos on the beach then. I occasionally go to a writer’s residence in the Berkshires (Wellspring House). I also like Split Rock Cove up in Maine—very cheap off season, and the woman artist who runs it is fun to get to get together with in the evenings. Mostly, it’s important for me to be in a place where I can take long walks or runs, and there can’t be too many shops or restaurants.
- Tiger Wiseman is an aspiring mystery writer & confirmed foodie.
- Ramona DeFelice Long writes every morning at 7:00 a.m. in her home in Delaware. She is an independent editor specializing in crime fiction. Twitter: @ramonadef.
- Liz Milliron writes The Laurel Highlands Mysteries. Her short fiction appears in Blood on the Bayou, Fish Out of Water, and Mystery Most Historical.
- Holly Robinson is a novelist, journalist, and celebrity ghost writer whose newest novel is Folly Cove. Visit her at her web site and on twitter @hollyrob1.