This past weekend was my annual Martin Luther King Jr. writing retreat, also known as the carrot that gets me through the holidays :-). And as always, it was so worth the trip.
Last year on our January jaunt (we also go in summer), we drove the last portion of our homeward trek in a massive snowstorm. Memories of that kept swirling in my head as we prepared this year, but we hit the jackpot this time around, with temperatures above freezing. We didn’t even have to wear boots as we hauled our supplies into the cabin, what a treat! Okay, there was some heavy rain while driving home, but still. Bonus.
Usually I look at these retreats as a way to make a massive attack on my page count, but this time I chose to do something different. I took a break from the book in progress and spent the weekend immersed in a new story, planning and plotting it from the ground up. I hopped in the car with a vague premise – a reunion between folks who were once married – and came out with many index cards, a plot, names for all the people (massively important to me, for some reason), the all-important conflicts and character arcs, some songs for the playlist, and the first two scenes drafted.
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
There was also some planning of social media, and reading from my 2017 list, and movies (I finally got to see Age of Adeline and Clueless). And of course, there was laughter. So many stories, so much catching up, such an abundance of singing and teasing and laughter.
These weekends away are very good for my writing. But they are even more important for giving me time away, to reflect, to sleep, the step outside the day to day and see things with fresh, laughter-filled eyes.
You can’t beat that.