Cabins Make Fantastic Writing Retreats

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This post’ll be short, mainly because I’m on my husband’s computer rather than mine and he’s bound to come around the corner any moment and want it back. But he’s got the roaming wireless thing-a-ma-jig on his laptop whereas mine is currently internet-less, thus the switch.

My family is from Arizona, just one state below us in Utah. But what large states they are! Sometimes I’m envious of East Coasters whose states are so nicely sized. It took us nine hours to drive down here to my grandparents’ cabin where my parents, siblings, nephew and nieces have all congregated for a long weekend. And after spending a few days here, I’m definitely wishing we lived closer to this place, despite the lack of internet.

I’ve spent most of my time up on a loft working on my novel while my dad works on his. The kids are at the opposite end of the cabin, totally entertained by “new” toys, foos ball, air hockey, videos, and video games.

It’s been fun talking to dad about story dynamics. This is his first time writing a full novel (he did short stories in college), and I get to feel like the important “expert” since I’m on my fourth draft of my second novel and he’s on his third draft. But really, since he’s lived nearly twice as long as me and read more than twice as many books, I’m pretty sure that my “expertness” is sort of imagined. I just got to help him figure out manuscript format, that’s all.

And having another writer around, combined with the low-key atmosphere of a cabin, has made me excited to climb the stairs to the loft every morning and really attack my revisions. It’s great.

I even rewrote my synopsis. Again. Still not fantastic, but at some point I’ll combine all the different versions and come up with something awesome. Here’s what I did this time:

Seventeen-year-old Wendy Stark is attached to four things: the guy friends she protects like a mother bear, the heavy camera she hangs around her neck, memories of a charismatic boyfriend named Peter she lost to an out-of-state move, and a threadbare belief in magic she hopes will keep her from growing up all the way. When a tiny exiled fairy — invisible to humans and fading from lack of magic — catches sight of the glow Wendy uses to help her friends, it prompts a destination-less road trip, a slew of creature attacks, and a last desperate theft attempt that leaves the guys wondering why “Dee” isn’t herself. It also leaves Wendy, now six inches tall, to learn to fly and dodge predators on her own — and to convince Peter she’s real.

Anyhow, hubby showed up wanting his computer, and I’m ready to get back to writing. But tell me, where would you retreat to if you could write anywhere?

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9 responses »

  1. The best retreat for me would be somewhere with warm, sunny weather; full of other creative people who are working on their own projects; and no internet. It sounds like you’ve found an excellent place!

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    • I’m actually very thankful that it HASN’T been too warm and sunny here, considering this is summer in Arizona. It’s been 75 and we’ve gotten rain every afternoon. So perfect. Swimming in the creek and hiking down a gorge have been great exercise to keep my brain going, too. And I totally agree about having other creative people around!

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  2. Hi Diana – it’s so funny, I was just thinking that the best retreat would be somewhere cool and rainy, so I’d feel like settling in to get some work done. But then I’ve been suffering over here from a long, hot summer… Maybe the best retreat weather is what you don’t have at home. 😉

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    • Amen to that. I’m loving the rain here because it’s been too dry and hot in Utah the past few weeks. But back in May and early June when we were getting SNOW (ridiculous) I would have said hot and sunny all the way. Thanks for stopping by, friend!

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    • You could be right, Courtney. Rainy weather isn’t special to me at all. But somehow my fears and frustrations don’t have as much power over my creativity when it’s sunny out. It reliably puts me in a positive mood. 🙂

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