Today, “3” is definitely a charm. I have not been sticking exactly to my planned schedule (I went to sleep at 02:00 AM last night/early morning). I stayed up late because this Retreat has been so successful for me that I wondered if other writers did this too. I couldn’t imagine that they didn’t but I had to see who else has written about their experiences. Before this, I’d never met anyone who just took time to go away and write somewhere else by themselves. Most everyone I know goes to conferences, which are fun but very expensive and non-productive in terms of actually writing. Last night, as I surfed “solo writing retreats” and other tag lines I could think of, I found several blogs and descriptions about DIY (Do It Yourself) Retreats. Some writers went to very fancy or out of the way places like Bali, and others simply rented a cheap hotel room or air B&B to focus on their WIP (work in progress). I discovered the commonality among us was that we all needed to remove ourselves from our ‘normal’ lives in order to really focus and write. Like me, other writers realized that their work schedules and daily responsibilities took them out of their “Write Mind.” Even when they set aside time to write at home, other people or things intruded while they were trying to create. Unlike some who crave group retreats, I thrive in solitude without a television or other distractions. I’ve felt no need to come in contact with anyone else and the House-Mother (as I shall call her) Trudy, is like a ghost. She’s unobtrusive, quietly gliding along wooden floors that squeak every time I step on them. With fairy lights wrapped around the staircase, and tons of literary classics everywhere, she invites the muses in and I simply have to open up my brain and let them in.
This morning, I woke at 08:00, stretched, went downstairs brewed my coffee and filled my teapot with lovely Oolong tea leaves and rosebuds. I juggled the teapot, cup of coffee and a can of Zevia cola up the stairs along with my cup of Silk Almond Yogurt (peach) and some Almond milk for a protein shake later.
It was another beautiful day outside and the sunlight poured through my huge window as I took a bit of time to stretch on my yoga mat. Then I sat down at my desk (with lovely view) and started to write. It was an incredibly easy day with words flowing and ideas just pouring into my head and out of my fingers. I even took a 30 minute break today and ventured out onto the porch (see photos below) to read a short story (The Witch by Anton Chekhov) while I drank a second cup of java. During another break, I plotted my next series of visits here. If I were unable to write another word tomorrow, I’d still consider this adventure a huge success. Because of this, I’m planning to make this place my writer home away from home for as many days as I can in the future. It’s out of the way, quiet, without frills, but it’s comfortable and inspiring. I think that the energy of every writer that’s come here with a desire to tell a story or to create an artwork of poetry–that their energy has been absorbed into this place. Every wooden board, antebellum window and antique desk cries out to me saying, “Sit! Write! Tell your story!”
Total word count today: 8,393. I had to write 8035 to say on target with either finishing my novel or getting to 80,000 words. I am succeeding in the word count at least, and that is a very good feeling indeed.
At this rate however, I do believe my total word count will far exceed 80,000 by the time I finish this novel. I’m about three-quarters in and I can already see that the “re-vision” will be more like major surgery. I have scenes I’ve written that I love but sooner or later I know they’ll have to go unless I can justify a need for them.
Ah, well, it is 23:00 and I have a date with Sylvia Plath and her Unabridged Journals before I sleep. Till tomorrow, dear friends . . .
February is not the “tourist” time of year to visit this part of Virginia, but if you are in search of solitude and beauty, and plan to stay indoors with a little adventure from time to time, then this is the place to come!