Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Seeing the forest for the trees:: A writing retreat

You can tell by the message Joey left in the guest book that we'd spent a lot of time working on summaries during our weekend writing retreat. Joey summarizes well -- our barn conversion on Orcas Island was indeed a perfect oasis.
Joey and I are both well into manuscripts and were craving a block of time to devote to progressing on them. So on Friday we drove up to the San Juan islands and hunkered down.
Joey makes a mean fire, and she and the wood-burning stove ensured we were toasty warm (and at times borderline oppressed by the heat).
We got out of the barn a few times in between downpours to see the gorgeous surroundings. There's something about retreating to the woods that gives clarity to big projects. So often in writing you've got to do it in small chunks, and have to stop just when you get on a roll. It's glorious to have all that time to push in and really see where you're going.

Essentials for the weekend included fresh flowers, writing books and a variety of chocolates. And of course the infamous pomordoro timer. We timed ourselves and worked in 25 minute increments, then shared what we worked on. As someone who is easily bored, I swear by this technique. Everything is funner when you time yourself in my book.
I love writing on ferries for some reason. They've got great big work surfaces, nice views and, in Washington, Native American art.

I kind of see coffee shops as my urban retreat centers, but they don't take kindly to me showing up in pajamas and staying for 12 hours, no matter how productive I am.

 Have you ever been on a self-directed retreat? Where did you go? Where do you retreat to even for just a few hours?


Elliotness said...

incredible! You girls need to make this an annual retreat. The photos are beautiful. Thanks SO much for sharing!

Jenny said...

loved seeing these recaps on yours and joey's blogs.

i am retreating by the new little table i placed by our front's amazing what a little dedicated space will do for your overall well being, even if it's just dedicated to blog reading ;)

Heather Rae said...

Love the photos! And I also love the idea of a self-directed retreat. I may just have to keep this in mind for the near future. :)

Jessica said...

Looks wonderful, cozy, productive, inspiring! I love the San Juan Islands and ferry ride over.

alisha said...

Nina, an annual (or quarterly!) retreat sounds lovely.

Jenny, I'm so glad you're keeping your table by the window for a little blog nook.

Heather, let me know if you need any retreat tips.

Jess, I'm just thinking about all the junior high retreats we went on. Such special times. :)

Shannon Young said...

This is a good idea and the pictures are beautiful! I think I need to force myself to do a writing weekend, even if I have to stay home.

I recently received the Stylish Blogger Award and I'm passing it on to you. I enjoy reading about your writing process. Here's the link:

melissa-jade gregan said...

ahhhh, loved the photos! thank you for sharing them! i just wait for your work to come out. you are very eloquent and very often explain what has happened to me, but your writing it down means it makes sense for me. babe, i really loved your prior blog. that totally resonated with me, and i bet it did for a million others. so, thank you for writing honestly and eloquently. You are my inspiration babe, and i miss having you round! love you and dan xxxxxxxx

La Dolce Vita said...

What a beautiful handwrite you have!!! :)

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