I’ve been writing for years, since 2006, in either my living room or my bedroom, among my family and all their noise and TV/video/music. I’ve even written while the fireworks went off outside on July 4th and even New Years eve. As you may or may not know, I work a full time job also.
So when other writers claim they can only write in quiet, or alone, or with their favorite play list plugged into their ears, I’m perplexed. I don’t write to music because I sing along with all the songs and I can’t write while I’m singing. (like walking and chewing gum)
It’s never very quiet at my house, not with a TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and WII (or a combination) going at any time. And being alone has never been a real option for me, not with a husband, two kids, and a needy dog.
Now I’d been to Starbucks to write with friends, but it never caught on with me. I’d been to a friend’s house to write/brainstorm, but I usually spent my time working with other writers on their plots.
But about a year or so ago, a friend invited me to go to her vacation home to write. My interest was piqued, to say the least. The concept of going away to write had never occurred to me. So I went and had a blast. We brainstormed a bit, and wrote a lot. I finished a book with about 10K new words in two days.
And just like that, I was hooked.
So I started taking little trips with my daughter, who wanted to attend several anime cons in our area. At least three times a year she would ask to go. It meant spending at least a weekend in a hotel filled with costumed anime characters, jammed elevators, and lobbies you couldn’t get across without a machete and a guide.
But the good thing about these cons is that they are always held in hotels that have room service.
Ah, room service, you are my friend. I love you. Once I settle into the room and my daughter disappears into the throng dressed as “what/who the hell is that?”, I pull out the hotel guide and flip to the “in room dining” section. Room Service, thou art great! I set up my laptop, turn off the internet and bring up my Work In Progress.
And the writing starts. And goes and goes. And the words fly. Thousands of them. I’ve never spent a weekend away where I wrote less than 12K. So I reserve this time for the “big finish.” When I need to get that book done, I head off to the con. Or to my friend’s vacay house. Or just to a hotel.
Last weekend, joined by another writing friend, I drove to Kerrville, Tx (about 3 hrs from Houston dead west) and checked into a hotel/resort I found on Groupon. For $50 a night and a tank of gas, I stayed in a lovely room, ate at the hotel restaurant which was fabulous and cheap (dragged out by my writing buddy), and once she left, ordered my “in room dining.” And almost finished my next book, Tarnished and Jaded, a 1600’s Russian historical that had been in my WIP folder for nearly 4 years. I finished it this weekend and turned it into my editor. Fingers crossed, it was worth waiting for.
See, I can still write at home. But when I need to hit that deadline and really produce, going somewhere private really works for me. But the bulk of my writing is still in the evenings and on weekends.
So this December, my daughter is attending another anime con and I’m going, laptop included. I’m planning on laying out the plot of my next two Lynn Lorenz books and maybe, if I get it done quickly, starting on the first of a series of Theodora Lane novellas.
Not to mention, I’m on vacay from mid-December to the first week of January, and I plan on getting a lot of writing done during those days.
Of course, next year, when my daughter leaves the nest for college, it will be just me and my husband at home and I’ll have a lot of “quiet time.” I won’t have any reason to run away and write.
Damn it. I really like getting away. It’s funny, really. While I like getting the writing done, I also really like coming home again. Walking in and seeing everyone. Being glad to be there and glad to see people who are glad I came home.
That’s my writing retreat experience.