A writers retreat

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.

IMG_5572-1Me 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.

IMG_5602.JPGThe 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.

IMG_5600.JPGLots 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.

IMG_5592.JPGThe view!

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.

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Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.

14 thoughts on “A writers retreat”

  1. I smiled the whole time I read this, enjoying the vicarious thrill of your energy and accomplishment. I hope you can find the opportunity for more of this in the future. I think every mother should make it a point to leave her children behind every so often so they learn to fend for themselves. It’s actually why I started going to writer’s conferences way back when. Everyone β€” writer or not β€” needs regular time to be nobody’s mother, spouse, employee, or caretaker. And you can tell ’em I said that!

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  2. I love writing retreats. My Sisters in Crime chapter did a one my first couple years where we rented a house in the Laurel Highlands, split the cost and the cooking, went out to dinner Saturday night, and left after lunch on Sunday. It was glorious and yes – it’s amazing how much you get done when you aren’t getting peppered with questions like “what’s for dinner?” or having to rotate countless loads of laundry. πŸ™‚ We need to do it again, and soon.

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  3. I’ve wanted to do the same thing and have never found the right time, place, people to do it with. I think the creative energy would be awesome. Two thumbs up on your amazing word count and the completion of your first draft!

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  4. Thanks for sharing, Kimberly! Sounds like it was a fun, productive, and rejuvenating getaway. All those cushy couches and chairs look like wonderful places to write πŸ™‚ And congrats on finishing your rough draft! That’s HUGE!

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  5. Wow what a great “event,” even if it was only for one night. I think I need a “readers retreat.” I’ll move that up on my “to do” list. Thanks for the post, and glad you had time to write about having a good time writing.

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  6. That post made me so happy! Good for you. I have been talking about something like that forever, too. Congrats on finishing your novel, too!! Hope you celebrated. πŸ™‚

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  7. Thanks, everyone! That weekend seriously energized my writing. Katie and I decided we’re going to make it a yearly thing. But next — two nights! And that hotel was perfect. So many interesting writing spaces and three restaurants on site. We didn’t even have to waste time driving to find something to eat.

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  8. This is going to sound so opportunistic, but at least it isn’t “buy my book!” This kind of experience is so valuable and something I love and so, with that in mind, we’ve set up our house in Tucson for retreats. I’m not intending to be pushy, just offering. http://www.casacalienterestreat.com (And Mysteristas, if this is too commercial, you dont need to post, I’ll understand)

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