Seriously, I’m so jealous. I wish I could go on a writers retreat. My retreats consists of the hour of blissful silence when my children are napping. Other times (like now) I’m trying put this blog post together with a dog whining in the background, my two sons tied to their highchairs against their will, and my daughter running back and forth in front of the dogs crate taunting her that she is out and the dog is not. Never a dull moment! But, I have MJ Compton here to tell us about her wonderful experience at her writing retreat.
I am a firm believer in writing retreats. I’ve been going on retreat twice a year for a decade or so. The weekend-long event started out at a friend’s house while her husband and children were away over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Eventually, we moved our action to Homewood Suites (we tried several different suite-type facilities, but found Homewood to be the best). After one of our core members moved away, we invited another author friend to join us. We held one or two more retreats at Homewood before the new member mentioned her mother’s country house in the woods about 4 hours away. Her mom would let us use it for free in exchange for dinner one night. We decided to try it.
And we haven’t looked back. The four drive? Perfect for brainstorming.
Over the years, our process has evolved to what works best for us.
Meal plan: Everyone is on their own for breakfast.
We each sign up for a meal—lunch or dinner. That person is in charge of menu, all prep, serving, and clean up for her meal. Then she is done. Lunch on the final day is always leftovers.
We sometimes have to tweak the meal agenda depending on the number days and number of people attending. This past August, lunch was a salad & sandwich bar, with all of us working together for set up and cleanup. Frequently, our summer retreat coincides with a nearby festival, so we attend that and eat there before enjoying fireworks over the lake. Except for fireworks night, every night is movie night (we bring our own DVDs with us).
Besides eating and watching movies, we write. I have never had an unproductive time on retreat. I average 20 pages a day of new material or cut through revisions like a hot knife through soft butter. Of course, the lack of Internet access helps
August means we sit on the deck and write. Bliss! In January, we curl up around the fire with our laptops. Cozy!
I think every author deserves a writing retreat at least once a year.
My newest book, And Jericho Burned can be purchased at: http://tinyurl.com/ml9wzc4
website & blog: www.comptonplations.com
What the . . .?
Everything appeared to undulate behind the waves of heat swathing the shabby motel room. Pressure built in Lucy’s head, her ears rang, and something odd happened to her vision. But not spots. And it only affected Stoker. Maybe she was staring too hard.
She blinked several times, trying to clear the mirage of hair sprouting, of Stoker’s lean height compacting shorter, squatter. His hideous pastel paisley shirt floated to the floor.
Her knees gave out. She dropped to the carpet, her heart racing, and her mouth dry. “Oh my God.”
Stoker looked like . . . he wasn’t pretending. Or else she’d fallen into some kind of Idaho reality-warped rabbit hole.
Stoker wasn’t role playing!
He–or a facsimile thereof–approached her warily, as if unsure of his reception.
Well, duh! No wonder he’d warned her not to scream.
Lucy tamped down both her fear and her stunned delight as her fingers dug into luxurious black fur.
Stoker Smith was an honest-to-goodness werewolf.
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which turned out to be a fiction so incredible, PT Barnum himself borrowed it. That’s a tough act to follow, but MJ tried—by composing her own stories.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ’s urge to create her own stories never went away.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.