2023 Writer’s Retreat: Done.
The theme? Get a whole lot of writing accomplished in as little time as possible.
The reality? Find Harrison Ford.
Ok, let me explain.
I have been retreating to Wichita, Kansas for a few years now. The first time I did this, I had a book deadline, and my babies were young, and I was finding it difficult to make the deadline because babies mess with you. Now, I have a teenager and one on the way (he’s twelve), and they can feed themselves. I no longer have to leave a list for the husband with things like, “COULD YOU PLEASE NOT FORGET TO GET THEM LUNCH” on it.
In fact, this time? The only list I left was a reminder to leave out kibble for our cat, Bob, which shows you how priorities change as children grow, but my husband’s hatred of cats remains the same.
Twenty-four hours before I retreated, however, I found out some really important information:
Harrison Ford was in Wichita.
It seems that Harrison flies planes, because of course he does, and he comes through Wichita kind of regularly to have his plane serviced. I know I’m writing all calmly about this but what really needs to be made VERY clear is that HE WOULD BE WITHIN MY REACH.
In fact, the night before I left, I was lying in bed with the Secondary Husband (demoted recently because Harrison, which I think Brian was actually kind of ok with because marriage to me is a long road and when Han Solo is involved he is a gentleman and bows out). We were talking about Harrison Ford, which is what I had been talking about for some hours now, and I said, in wonderment, “Do you know? I am an hour away from Harrison Ford right now.”
Reader, I am writing this to you on the fourth and final day of my writer’s retreat.
And alas I did not find Harrison Ford.
A good writer would have built suspense here. Suspense if figurative language that builds stakes in your writing and makes it cool. But I am a bit broken hearted and really low on sleep, and sadness makes me forget to use that stuff.
However, what I did find instead:
- A really great tea house where they brought me multiple pots of Earl Grey with lots of lemon and gobs of honey and it was heavenly.
I stayed in a tiny house with a tiny little bed because I’ve always wanted to stay in a tiny house. Incidentally, you know what I discovered about myself? I no longer want to stay in a tiny house. Tiny houses are FREAKING SMALL.
But I wrote. I wrote there, in my tiny little bed with Doc Martin playing in the background because Brits make great company. I wrote until very late at night. I woke up early, and thought about what I wrote and how to add to it. And what I should write next. Then, I would unwedge myself from my tiny dwelling, and I wrote at coffee houses and the Early Gray place. The Early Gray place also had macarons, a necessary writing supplement.
I made lists about writing things. I edited. I brainstormed on big yellow pads of paper. I stared off into space and then clattered away at my keyboard.
For three and a half days, uninterrupted except for one quick trip to a vintage clothing shop for necessities, I wrote my face off.
Ok, not literally. “Writing my face off” is hyperbole, which is figurative language that sadness never has yet been able to pry from my grip. Hyperbole and I are *crosses fingers* like this.
(We can talk about personification another time.)
Also: I found this coffee house dog who massively helped my mental state:
And so, I found momentum and ideas and I finally, FINALLY queried three agents. I might have accidentally sent the first agent (Day 1: 12:57 am) the wrong draft of a sample chapter, so that ship has sailed, but I DID IT.
Nothing, very likely, will happen with any of these queries. But the momentum, and feeling a bit glorious about it all, is there. Which is what a writer’s retreat is all about.
I think Harrison would be proud.