The week before last, we had our first ever virtual retreat at the Green Mountain Dude Ranch. With Jake MacKillian as our host and Miz Sally shellin’ out the grits, it was an affair to remember. So many fun activities cropped up around the ranch and of course all our retreat attendees took full advantage of the fun AND still managed to write. Lots of words hit the pages and ideas sparked from every corner. I was able to peek in a time or two, but alas, June through August is beyond busy for me. I was sooooooo envious of all the fun. A dude ranch. Of all the virtual retreat scenarios to miss, why did it have to be the Green Mountain Ranch with Jake??
If you missed the fun too, hop on over to the June 26th Seekerville post. Ruthy and virtual retreat guests recapped the week at Green Mountain and breathed life into the adventure we dream of. Isn’t that what a retreat is supposed to do? YAY and cheers to everyone who made it happen!!!
The above mentioned retreat was a hoot and look forward to the next virtual retreat hosted by Seekerville in January. Mark your calendars NOW!!
But a group retreat like this isn’t the only kind of retreat to experience…
Back in May, some of us fun-lovin’ Seeker gals met in the beautiful town of Lyons, Nebraska to hug, laugh and of course, write words!! I was able to make it to this one. Mary Connealy found the perfect house for us complete with overstuffed furniture, tastefully appointed bedrooms, a charming kitchen (Ruthy’s domain) and if it hadn’t rained, we’d have enjoyed a lovely backyard with sweet patio furniture. We walked a couple of blocks to the town library and logged on their computer terminals for our Internet fixes when Mary’s WIFI hotspot at the house gave us (mostly Mary) fits. We even bought a Keurig to aid us through our mind-numbing adventure.
We wrote lots of words; ate lots of food (Mary’s husband brought us soup for lunch one day and her mom baked fresh cinnamon rolls!!!); and Mary showed us the sights. Oh wait, there’s shopping too. Take a look at the great handbag and wallet I came home with : )
Since I have a hard time scheduling retreat time with a group, I also make the most of time close to home. Sometimes I have to run away from home to carve out time for myself. To think; to be creative; to write. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but sometimes indulging my imagination to work out plot point just can’t be done at home. So I pack a cooler, throw in a camp chair and my fully charged laptop, and head to any number of hiking trails located in my county. There’s usually a place with picnic tables and chairs off to the side of the county maintained trailheads, so I carve out my spot -- as far from people as possible -- spread out across the whole expanded metal table, and write my heart out. It’s here that I write the “senses” part of my books:
- I see the blue sky dotted with clouds, the chipmunks and camp robbers hopping around the picnic area and the carved out dirt trails;
- I smell the fresh pine scent;
- I hear the buzzing of the lazy insects;
- I can touch the sappy bark and mossy rocks;
- And of course, taste the snacks and drinks I’ve brought with me : )
When winter hits and going out isn’t an option, I try to concentrate at home in my office by making it as storyworld friendly as possible. In the 2013 June issue of Romance Writers Report (RWR pg 14), I contributed to an article written by Jane McBride Choate (Seekerville guest March 5, 2013) where she asked various writers how we handle writing retreats at home. Read the article. There are some very good ideas : )
Since it’s pretty easy for me to establish my storyworld when writing cowboy romances, my challenge arose when trying to immerse into my Victorian historicals. I surround myself with pictures of English gardens and manor houses. I have bowls of potpourri filling my nose with lavender scent. And of course, I have my DVD library close at hand so I can escape to merry ol’ England by way of Pride and Prejudice, and Sherlock Holmes.
BTW, this is a writing retreat, so when I pop in that DVD, I reduce the movie screen and just listen to the dialogue, absorbing the speech patterns and accents rather than cuddling down in a blankie and a bowl of popcorn. Focus folks! This is writing time, not indulging in our inner romantic!!
Now it’s your turn to share. How do you handle retreats either at home or away? Let’s pool our ideas and help one another keep the creative juices flowing!!
My special retreat gift for one commenter today is a $15 gift certificate to Yankee Candle to help you create your own mood : )