Write Every Day: Writer’s Retreat

dream plan write

I haven’t posted a daily progress update in over a week. My family took a 5-day trip to Toronto starting last Thursday, and returning Monday. I have spent the rest of this week recovering, and also purposely avoiding my writing. When we got back, I was tired and unfocused and gave into the laziness.

I think I may have needed a little rest after Camp NaNo, though I know that’s not in the spirit of writing every day at all.  Still, I knew my chance to dive back in would be coming soon.

My in-laws have a trailer set up at a local campground, which they’ve visited now and then throughout the summer. Several weeks ago, while thinking about our family spending a weekend out there, I realized something. That could be a great place for a quiet weekend away from all of the distractions of home. The initial idea wasn’t necessarily for it to be full of writing, rather simply time alone, after a chaotic summer.

School is about to start, and I homeschool my kids. I have a son who is starting 8th grade and a daughter who is about to start a more structured daily routine for kindergarten. And this summer hasn’t really been the most relaxing “time off” any kind of teacher might hope to get. Hence the weekend getaway. My husband is the one who mentioned the idea of making it a writing weekend.

So I am leaving this evening, with food that won’t need much preparation, my laptop, every notebook I think I may need, printouts of two different stories, and no real chance at having internet (the wi-fi is terrible there, I’m told). I am bringing some DVDs to watch for a break now and then and plan to get out and take a walk when I need to stretch my legs. I’ll likely stay up until I’m too tired to think, sleep until (most likely) noises from neighbors wake me up, and keep going.

Come Sunday evening, I may have a very different post to share about the realities of my writer’s retreat, but for now, I have grand plans to get all sorts of work done, and to recharge before school starts up again.

Have any of you out there ever had a sort of writer’s retreat? A day, weekend, or even more away from normal life, during which you focused on writing?


Daily Challenge Check-in: July 28, 2015

Words/Time: 3560 words revising “Pithea” with two of my sisters over Skype. Also known as the 49th meeting of the Tri-County Sisterhood of the Traveling Book. We got through almost 12 pages of double-spaced text. There were some issues raised tonight that made me very defensive of my words, but they were all resolved peacefully. I did wander off to the kitchen to scrub a dirty dish while we talked about one though (I use a wireless headset during these meetings), because I can’t sit still when these kinds of issues arise. That was something I only realized I did tonight.

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-BannerIt’s the end of week 4 of Camp NaNo, and there are now only 3 days left. I am about an hour away from my goal of working for an average of an hour per day all month. We’re leaving on Thursday for a 5-day trip to Toronto, so I most likely won’t have time to work on Thurs or Fri. Tomorrow, my kids and I will be spending a lot of the day packing and otherwise getting ready. I had anticipated being done with Camp NaNo tonight, so I wouldn’t have to work on it tomorrow, but I had to skip Sunday, so now I have another day’s work to do. I will do my best to make time tomorrow. It’s just an hour. If that fails, I will figure out some way I can do some work either in the car (though I tend to get carsick if I’m looking at a book, mobile screen, or anything like that, while the car is moving) or in the hotel between Thurs and Fri, during any down time. I’ll fit it in, even if I have to get up before the rest of the family on Friday.

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 27, 2015

Words/Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes, adding revisions for “Pithea” that were made on paper into the computer. Not working on anything yesterday has put a crimp in my plans to win Camp NaNo tomorrow. And that’s a shame, because I’m leaving on Thursday for 5 days in Toronto. Wednesday will be mostly spent packing and getting otherwise ready, with an early bedtime. I don’t see having time, or focus, to work for the last hour I’ll be needing. Maybe I’ll have to find some sort of writing work I can do on the 8-hour drive. Or in the hotel on Friday afternoon, which for now is slated to be our only downtime all weekend.

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 26, 2015

Words/Time: None. For the first time all month, I did not a single bit of writing work today. Not on my story, not for Camp NaNo, not even for this blog (besides right now, but this doesn’t count). Normally I just don’t post if I do nothing, but today wasn’t a lazy day, it was a full day. Up very early, nap in the afternoon, then a 90-minute drive for a concert with my family. To be honest, I’m mostly just posting because I was so close to posting every day in July that I didn’t want a day with no chance to work to ruin it. And to share this picture:

fK&C Elkhart 056

for KING & COUNTRY in Elkhart, IN

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 25, 2015

Words/Time: 33 minutes, working on getting scenes for “Pithea” laid out in Scrivener. I’m still in the free trial period, testing it out to see if it is worth buying. So far, one of the biggest things I was excited about using it for was a feature that was only available on the Mac version. How useful it will be for me remains to be seen.

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 23, 2015

Words/Time: 1 hour, revising “Pithea.” The beginning of part 4 has long concerned me. After three parts, each with its own mini-plot, part 4 has its own too. However, first, there’s the issue of a bunch of stuff that happens during the year between parts 3 and 4. At the beginning of parts 2 and 3, there was also a little bit of, “So, here’s what’s happened since then…” The other times, though, it was a small amount of text. This time, way more happens. Around 5000 words-worth. Looking at the word count, it didn’t seem like as much as it had felt like before, so I’m less concerned now. Most likely, I’ll make one chapter of various updates (or two chapters, if need be, as one of those updates seems like it might be better being separate) and then just go on with the story.

I also decided today that it’s time to start laying out the story in a way that helps me see where chapter breaks should be. I’ve noticed that I seem to be different than most other writers (though to be fair, I haven’t done specific research, just what I hear other Wrimos or blogging writers say) plan chapters into their outline, or at least break the writing into chapters as they go. I don’t get that. I mean, I am completely baffled by it. I have a hard enough time deciding chapter breaks afterward. However, I’ve finally started to bring myself around to understanding (and believing) that “average chapter length” is a myth. My plan right now is to use Scrivener (which I’ve tested, but not thoroughly) to lay out the scenes and hopefully figure out chapters there.

My stats page on the Camp NaNo site says that at my current pace, I will finish on July 29th. That is fortunate, because my family is leaving for a 5-day trip to Toronto on the 30th. Though I’ll bring a notebook or two with me, I know I won’t have time to do any writing work. I didn’t last time. So I should finish the day before. Though in actuality, barring any bad days before next Tuesday, I’ll probably finish on the 28th, because I will have another 2-2 1/2 hour Skype revision meeting that will most likely push me over the edge.

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 22, 2015

Words/Time: 630 words of something completely unrelated to anything I should be working on. Not even fiction. But still writing. I worked all day, then had another obligation in the evening, so I didn’t get home until 10:30, at which point normal child-bedtime routines still had to happen. So I decided not to worry about Camp, since I’m ahead anyway. What I did write qualifies for my daily challenge to do some sort of writing work every day, but doesn’t qualify for Camp NaNo.

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 21, 2015

Words/Time: 3603 words revising “Pithea” with two of my sisters over Skype. Also known as the 48th meeting of the Tri-County Sisterhood of the Traveling Book. We got through almost 11 1/2 pages of double-spaced text. We discussed tonight the fact that the last three meetings have yielded higher than average page counts. We’re not sure if it’s because I’d gotten better at my writing by the time I got this far, if I’ve just gotten better with my revising before the group reads over the story, or if we’re just all starting to care less. Hopefully it’s not the last one.

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-BannerIt’s the end of week 3 of Camp NaNo, so here’s a quick update on my progress–my goal for the month is to work for an average of an hour per day on my revision. I’m happy to say I have still been keeping up with that and then some. I’ve still only skipped one day of revision all month. Any other times I’ve had a rough or busy day, I’ve made sure to get at least 20 minutes of work in. Right now, I’m almost 3 hours above par for the current day, so I’m going into week 4 with some buffer, which is always great!

Daily Challenge Check-in: July 20, 2015

Words/Time: 1497 words, revising “Pithea.” I have toned down a scene that was probably too much too soon, though only by a small amount. One sentence deleted was all that was required. And with today’s work, I have finished part 3 of 4 during this revision session, which will probably be the most intensive one I have to do. Part 4 is kind of a mess though. All four parts consist of somewhat stand-alone mini-plots while the main plot progresses. Part four has its own conflict, but first I spend several pages talking about things that happened between parts 3 and 4. I’m not sure how well that’s going to work yet.