writing retreat

From West Virginia to Santa Fe (Part 1)

This Summer I had the great opportunity to taking my laptop on the road.

I love living in NYC, but Mike and I really wanted to switch it up this summer and get as far away from the city. We really needed concentrated quiet time to focus on our writing projects.

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On our way to Durbin, West Virginia!

We used AirBnB to rent this gigantic house in Durbin, West Virginia for two weeks. I couldn’t believe how nice the house was for the price we paid ($50 a day!). If you have no clue what AirBnB is, it’s a way of renting a room or a house from individuals and it’s typically much cheaper and much more unique than staying at a hotel or BnB. If you want to try it out, let me know and I’ll send you a $25 off coupon 🙂

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Our beautiful home for two weeks!

The house came complete with a banjo, which we played on the porch every night. The porch was also home to the feistiest hummingbirds I’ve ever seen. Throughout the two weeks, friends and family came to stay the night, and we got to see more of West Virginia, including a hike to Seneca Rocks, a ride on the historic steam train, and a rafting trip down the New River Gorge. All in all, if I had to choose one word to describe West Virginia, it would be “green.”

But most importantly, I got to write!

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My writing home for the two weeks.

Every morning I wrote for four blessed hours, and then, after lunch, I wrote for another four blessed hours! Since we were right by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, there were no cell phone towers, so I didn’t have any distractions. Well… except for this:

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The hungry stray cat we adopted for two weeks. We named him Squeaks.

I got to finish the second draft of my screenplay while I was there!

Now I’m putting my screenplay aside for three weeks so I gain some objectivity, and moving on to work with my friend on her screenplay. Which brings me to Santa Fe.

But not so fast. You’ll have to wait until my next post for the some of the most beautiful sunrise pictures.

Did you miss me?

What’s the best way to frustrate a blogger? Give her a bunch of exciting opportunities she’s not allowed to write about!

If you’re wondering why this is my first post of the year, it’s because I’ve been busy with said opportunities, but also it’s hard not to write about top-secret opportunities when you’re fully immersed in them.

So here’s what I can talk about:

  1. I just got back from a great trip to New Orleans where I celebrated the birthday of one of my favorite people. This was my first trip to NOLA, and I’m already jonesing for some Cafe Du Monde beignets, Central Grocery muffeletta, ubiquitous jazz, and the stunning houses of the Garden District. The one thing I won’t be missing? Hurricanes, a fiery red cocktail that tastes like Kool-Aid and Draino but is surprisingly hard to turn down.
  2. The writing retreat I organized is just over a week away! I’m so excited to spend a few days in upstate New York, working on my writing and sharing ideas with other writers. Enrollment is over, but if you’d like to apply for future retreats, make sure to join the Writers Work email list.
  3. My favorite program in the world, The Living Course, is only two weeks away and I’ll be assisting there! That too is all booked up, but if you’re interested in finding out more info, or signing up for the next course, head over to their site.

Alright, back to work on top-secret stuff. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you about some of these ventures as they materialize.

Growing some Wings

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This is one of my favorite quotes, and it’s a belief that motivates me whenever thinking of what to do next. It’s a quote I had to repeat as I wrote the check to reserve the venue for my first-ever writers’ retreat. (Actually I’ve set up two impromptu retreats with my writers’ groups and I know that the concentrated time and companionship can make the difference between thinking about a novel and finishing a novel. However, these retreats were at my parents house so there was no financial risk for me. This retreat is on a larger scale, with more money and time at stake.)

It would have been easy to say no to the idea of this retreat. Financially speaking, I should say no to this retreat. But at the end of the day I know I can do an amazing job organizing it, and I know that it will be worth it. There are only seven openings and I need at least five people to sign up in order to break even. I jumped off a cliff and now I’m waiting for those wings to pop out! If you know someone who would benefit from this retreat, please share the info! Here are some of the details, but visit the website for the daily schedule and more details.

  • 3pm Friday, Feb. 20 through 3pm Monday, Feb. 24
  • We will all be staying in a quiet house in the Catskills and our meals will be brought to us. All you need are your usual writing implements, clothing, and a toothbrush.
  • All activities are optional. They are designed to inspire creativity and enhance the craft, but your time and schedule is priority.
  • Mornings start with yoga or mediation and the evenings end with a group critique of the day’s writing.
  • On the last day, Chloe Caldwell, author of Woman, Legs Get Led Astray and The New Age Camp, will be joining us to talk about her experience as a writer, and offer feedback on our writing.
  • Prices range from $540-$800 depending on the room situation you pick, and if you send a deposit by 12/15 for the early bird special. Price includes housing, meals (except for one meal at a restaurant), activities and supplies.

I hope you will join me for this retreat and I hope there will be many more in the future.