Sunday, November 25, 2012

Writing Retreat

On a clear and crisp November weekend three members of my writers' group Tapestries venture out to the south fork of Long Island for our twice a year retreat. Staying at Sea Crest Resort in Amagansett we find the time to write and the support of other writers.

As the sun rises in the east I brew a pot of coffee, have breakfast, then go for a walk along the beach. The sand is soft beneath my sneakers. The waves roll softly into the shoreline and the seagulls' cries greet me. As I walk, characters appear in my mind, new plot lines unroll like the waves, and as questions are answered others arise. These will be raised to my fellow writers later today when we have our brainstorming session.

Back in our suite, I shower and get dressed, then settle at the kitchen table, notebook open, purple pen in hand poised above the blank page and begin to write. The time and silence in which to write is a rare gift for a writer, especially the three of us who all have full time jobs and families to take up our precious little time. As I write, Lori is on the couch also writing and discovering where the suspense is in her newest novel. Karen is across the table from me hashing out some new turns in her YA mystery. And around us there is a communal energy that we thrive on and absorb.

Nowhere else, at no other time, am I privileged to have such long blocks of time in which to write. Writing in short spurts works if you have no other choice, but optimal plot building and character development come with long stretches of time.

Over lunch we discuss how far we've gotten in our novels, how much we love this time away to write, and ask questions that help us move ahead in our afternoon writing sessions. Later we'll dress and go out for dinner and relax and talk more about the writing life. We even dream of how great it would be to write full time and have a little house out here on the east end with the background of crashing waves and orange sunsets.

I'm happy to say that by the time I got home I had completed 54 pages of my present novel. Now as I transcribe those scenes into my computer word program I am energized to keep going. I need that jolt of progress and the communion of other writers to encourage me and spur me on.

Looking forward to another retreat in the spring I plan to be working on a new novel. My goal is to finish this first draft by the end of this year. I'll just glance at these photos every now and then to remind me how much writing is possible when you put your mind to it.