Tag Archives: quiet writing time

Mini Writer’s Retreat

I just got back from a writer’s retreat, but I didn’t actually go anywhere. How is that possible, you may ask? Well, during the course of visiting bloggers during the A to Z Challenge, I came across a writer who talked about how she and another writer from her critique group would take turns going to one another’s house for an overnight writing foray. They’d have quiet writing hours and brainstorming sessions. This struck me as a fabulous idea, so I presented it to my dear friend, fellow writer, and publisher, Kerrie, and we picked a date. With The Husband in India for work, this worked out great, plus, this entire week has been rainy, which always makes me want to hunker down with a mug of tea and paper and pencil. 

Kerrie helped me brainstorm some plot and character ideas for my new novel, I worked on some poetry for a Words and Images workshop I’m taking, and then we hammered out the storyboard for a children’s book we co-wrote and I’ll be illustrating. Even my teenage son offered his ideas when we were discussing the book. But we had potato chips, so I think that lured him.

We accomplished a lot. 

Writing retreats can be quite a financial investment, so something on a smaller scale, and in your own space, is a great option. Having the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, can set you on the writing path if you’re feeling stalled. Plus, it it’s a good excuse to clean house.

Happy Friday, everyone. And if you’re one of those who like a great book for a great deal, you can download Bobbing for Watermelons for half price at Kobo today through Sunday. That’s only $2.99!  (You don’t need a Kobo reader; just download the app.) 
Bobbing for Watermelons by April J. Moore

Have a great weekend and Mothers’ Day!

How I Retreated and Came Back with a Story to Tell

A couple of times a year, my husband takes a week off to go fly fishing in Montana. The days, sometimes weeks, leading up to these fish n’ beer excursions, he’s a little on the grumpy side because his mind is on the river and typically, there’s a lot to wrap up at work before taking off. Just a couple of weeks ago, he returned from those healing Montana waters, a new man. Little did I realize, that I myself had begun to morph into Oscar the Grouch the days leading up to my writer’s retreat. With a lot on my plate (not all of it appetizing) I haven’t found much time to write, let alone, relax. I had been struggling with starting a new novel, so the retreat called to me, not unlike the way trout call out to my husband.

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This was the third consecutive year I’ve gone on the Northern Colorado Writers retreat up at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, and each time, I made great progress on whatever project I had going. This year, I didn’t have anything in particular to work on since I’m in between projects. For the first hour or so, I sat in my room and stared at the wall. Another one of the attendees suggested I try these story cubes . . .

They may be geared toward kids, but they’re worth a shot. I ended up jotting down some short story ideas from them, but resumed my wall-staring for a while. Then, thanks to a few writing prompts from Writer’s Digest, I hooked into a story. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). I hand wrote several pages of ideas, then  plotted out the structure using the Plot Line Skeleton.

Based on the skeleton plot line, I then wrote a three-page outline. Before I left, I had nearly the first two chapters written. Since I’ve already started the book, I’m obviously not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to certainly write like I am. My goal is to reach the halfway mark by Christmas. So what’s the moral to this story? If you find yourself wanting rip the heads off kittens, please don’t. Take a time out to recharge and regroup. Your friends and family will thank you, and you’ll most likely end up with a new project that you otherwise wouldn’t have come up with.

It also didn’t hurt that we had plenty of wine to help reduce those high stress levels: