A year ago, my author friend, Katie, and I kept talking about taking a writers’ retreat. We only live 90 minutes from each other and we daydreamed about meeting up at a bed and breakfast for a weekend in which we did nothing but write. Katie and I have five kids between the two of us. She has a full-time job and I’m trying to cram thousands of words into my daughter’s brief nap schedule.
Me and Katie!
Two months ago, Katie and I decided to book our retreat. With young kids at home, we could only spare a night. I found a stellar deal for a hotel an hour from both of us, The Inn At Pocono Manor, on Groupon. It even included a $25 dining credit.
Despite the 4pm check-in time, Katie and I arrived at before 11am, figuring we’d just set up camp in the lobby. And boy, what a lobby! The Inn was a sprawling estate, built at the turn of the 20th century. I’d never seen so many seating areas with big, overstuffed couches, fire places, and lamps.
The soft, cushy couches
We checked into our room, dumped our stuff, and hauled our laptops downstairs where we settled into soft, striped chairs near a window with a view of the Pocono mountains. I opened up my work-in-progress, typed a few sentences, only to have a man plop down on a couch behind me and talk loudly about presidential politics! (And we definitely didn’t belong to the same party) Katie cocked her brow and offered up headphones. Luckily, he didn’t stay long.
Lots of fun chairs
We wrote, had lunch, went upstairs to write. Then we had dinner, wrote some more before going to bed. I penned 7k words that day. The following morning, I wrote another 4k words. It’s amazing how much I can write when I don’t have constant interruptions or the burden of cooking and cleaning up.
During those 30 hours, I finished the rough draft of my first cozy mystery. It’s a very crappy first draft, but it’s done. I’ll revise it later.
Meanwhile, Katie made huge headway on her novel, which will be published next year!
I left the hotel energized, pumped for my next project, and feeling like an author, rather than a haggard mom trying to squeeze a word count into bouts of nap time and TV.
I recommend all authors book their own writing retreats. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.