Retreat: v. – (of an army) withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat.
Retreat: n. – 1. an act of moving back or withdrawing. 2. withdraw to a quiet or secluded place.
I have always wanted to go on a writer’s retreat. It sounds romantic, to be able to move away from the world and surround oneself with the creation of words and nothing else. A writer’s retreat is something real writers do, the kind of writers with books on the shelf and a room of their own in which to write.
Hogwash, all of it.
This past weekend, I went to my family’s lake house with four other women who write. Three of them write Christian genre fiction and one of them is working on a Christian nonfiction. I was the odd woman out, writing fantasy romance, but we had an amazing time.
For me, the weekend was a withdrawal from enemy forces. My enemies being two large dogs, two small boys, and one wonderful husband.
They allow me to write often enough, sometimes every day, but their demands are many. Even now, I am writing at the table with one boy eating a meal I prepared and one demanding to sit in my lap. Previous to this paragraph, I was interrupted by poop (not mine), an argument (in which I was called in to referee), and a consultation about clothing choices for the day. It gets wearisome.
I am not a part of a f2f writer’s circle. I have friends online to which I pose questions on craft or business, but I have never shared my work in real time. It was eye-opening.
Humans are, at our base, social creatures who desire community. Though writers create in isolation, is was nice to create in a shared space for a short time.
We would work on our own, then come together to read paragraphs, read openings, work out sticky plot points, and discuss the publishing industry. During meals, we shared our lives and got to know each other.
My goal for the retreat, which was only about 26 hours long, was 10,000 words. I was a couple hundred words shy, but I ended in a great spot.
The retreat reinforced that we all feel inadequate, we all juggle complicated lives, and a room of one’s own may look more like a corner of the couch or family table and less like a writer’s hut. Of course, if anyone would like to re-purpose an old Airstream, cabin, or train car into office for me, please, feel free to do so.
–Jane, writer of magical things