I’ve been negligent. This poor blog has been neglected due to a lack of inspiration. Actually, my writing had been lagging due to the same problem. I needed to get my mojo back quickly! Being an author, after all, depends on output.
I read about an upcoming writer’s retreat sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Romance Writer’s of America (NEORWA). My participation in this group has also been neglected. Since I had been president umpteen years ago, there have many changes and many new faces. My attendance, sadly, has been few and far between. The writer’s retreat has been taking place annually for years. Of course, I never attended, due to obligations or excuses.
What actually is a writer’s retreat? I heard that it was a mix of social time and serious writing time. I have never been on any type of retreat but the word alone brought back memories of Catholic school and cloistered nuns. After all, only pious and seriously religious folk tended to go on retreat. I knew this would be different but I couldn’t get a handle on what attending would actually accomplish.
Enter this year. Unlike other years, I have been living with a new philosophy of life. This philosophy has been brewing and has been being tested over a number of years. So far, it has never let me down.
Whenever that little voice in my head urges me to do something, I take that nudge as a sign and act upon it. Some may call it the voice of a guardian angel, voice of God or just nonsense. I take it as an omen that something good is about to happen if I act upon it. It’s that “no regrets” and “get out of your comfort zone” philosophy. So far, it has steered me in the right direction.
Back to the NEORWA retreat. The voice said, “Go for it!” I signed up and paid the fee, committing myself. When I saw the list of fellow attendees I realized that I really didn’t know anyone. That’s okay because I also believe that “a friend is someone you just haven’t met.”
The November 1-3 retreat was a winning decision.
First, Punderson State Park is scenic and has lovely little cottages in a sort of country-suburban setting within walking distance of the main lodge. Fully equipped with modern amenities, this was by no means roughing it. Second, my fellow roommates in Cabin 26 are the most remarkable group of women. Connected through the love of writing, we bonded and after the weekend became sisters. I never drank so much and laughed so hard in years. Plus, my weird self felt right at home. What other group of women would request belly dance lessons and willingly dance around a blazing campfire or beat on a pot as a drum and giggle the night away? Our fellow retreat sisters across the way, joined in the crazy mayhem. A good time was had by all. We also brought enough food for a week’s stay. The communal potluck was amazing. Yes, the shepherd’s pie and lasagna as the main course were fabulous as well. That fruit trifle was decadent.
Third, I actually got some writing in. There was a wonderful presentation after Friday night’s dinner in the lodge about opening lines, chapters and contests. Being with a group of studious women on a rainy Saturday proved to be enough inspiration and quiet time to get my creative juices flowing. Whether it was sitting in the Punderson library with Chris or in the cabin with the group, I felt inspired to write. Longhand, I must have written around 30 pages! My WIP has come to life. Returning home, I was able to edit on the computer, write even more and have enough material to complete the novel. Since I’ve determined that this is actually the first book of a continuity series, there’s now a sense of accomplishment. Without the retreat, I truly believe that my writer’s block would have continued.
Hey, it’s also necessary for women to escape from everyday life once in awhile. I know that I need to get away from the responsibilities of home to recharge. Periodic escapes do just that. I return home a happier person. The Chautauqua Institution, where I have been privileged to instruct for six years, has been my annual summer escape (at least for a few weeks). I now have an autumn escape to mark on the calendar.
I would recommend a writer’s retreat to all writers. There’s nothing like being with your own kind for inspiration. It’s also fun to hang out and let your hair down.
Thank you, NEORWA, Cabin 26 and all of the ladies at the retreat.