Writing Retreats

Writing retreats are one of my most cherished aspects of this profession.

This tradition started years ago when Elisabeth Naughton and I took a week away in Vegas to write. I know–Vegas, to write…sure. Both of us have been happily married for decades and neither of us gamble, and it happens to be a location where we could reach with cheap flights and where I could use my ebay-purchased time shares. So it made fiscal sense. (Yes, that’s the story I’m sticking to.)

On the very first day, we sat down with a pen and paper and mapped out our schedule. 2-3 hr writing blocks with 1-2 hr breaks for meal-slash-plotting-slash-brainstorming breaks. We worked from 9am-ish to midnight-ish for 6 solid days–we had travel time in there. Elisabeth (a faster writer than me) kicked out somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 words that week. I think I hit around 35,000. It was amazing. We vowed to do it again.

I can’t remember where we went the next time, but we came out of it with the same results. It was a miraculous blend of uninterrupted time blocks and the power of having like-minded writers at your-literal-beck and call. There was a lot of the calling bedroom to bedroom “hey, I need a word for…” or “will I mess up my pacing if I…?” and the dreaded, “oh, shit…I need help” during those two hour writing stints. And that kept everything flowing.

Since then, we fit in our writing retreats whenever we can. Elisabeth and I often retreat with our buddy Darcy Burke. Occasionally we can grab Rachel Grant from WA. Since they all lived in the Pacific NW and I was in CA at the time, I snagged a few CA counterparts to retreat closer to home with and now regularly meet with Marina Adair. Now that I leave on the East Coast, I’m finding all sorts of awesome new writing buddies to retreat with like Kimberly Belle, Avery Flynn, Kimberly Kincaid, Carrie Ann Ryan, Christi Barth…and I hope to meet many more.

I thought I’d start posting some of my favorite pictures from our trips and make notes about what made those trips special.

More to come….

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