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May 11, 2010 / Chersti Nieveen

writer’s retreat

So this past weekend, I holed up in a condo with 10+ other writers, and what a blast! We had three days to ourselves just to write. So what does a writer’s retreat look like?? See the picture below, add 10 more writers and a 3 story condo into the mix, and you have somewhat of an idea.

Nikki Mantyla, Jeni Tolley, and Amy Reall

Fellow writers Nikki Mantyla (retreat post) and Brodi Ashton (retreat post) also blogged about the experience.

As for me, I had the sniffles this weekend –one bad case of allergies that was coming off more like a cold, so I took plenty of naps. Despite the foggy brain and need for naps, I got quite a bit done. I also discovered the following thing:

1. Writers make the funniest faces as they are writing! Seriously. Only I didn’t realize this until after day 2 because I was too busy making my own faces.

2. Every writer is different. Some people are marathon writers, and just sit and stare until the scene is done. As for me, I never noticed that I jump up every 5 minutes when I’m writing. I hid a hard sentence, and suddenly I have to run down to the kitchen for crackers. Or water. Or run to my room to grab something. But by the time I am back, my brain has worked on it. And if the scene is going smoothly, my butt stays firmly in place.

3. Face it. Writing is lonely. Writing with other people in the room: not quite so lonely, despite the lack of talking out loud. And when you all hit break time, you have great conversations.

4. What do writer’s talk about? Books! And apparently it was worth staying up until the wee hours in the morning to make the most of those conversations.

The Boys, Joel and Kevin Smith

5. Bellybuttons are not attractive in a romance movie. (Not following? Watch the deleted scenes in The Young Victoria. Then, my friend, you will definitely understand the twenty minutes of all out giggles that came from the three girls in my room at 10:30 Friday night.)

6. When feeding goats dog biscuits, remember there is always a better way than leaning over the fence ALMOST broken fence (and practically falling into the river) to get it in the goat’s mouth. Despite others egging you on. (And the next time you see a goat, make sure to say “Hello, David” just in case. You never know who you are talking to as Kevin nicely demonstrated!)

7. The best place to get stuck at a point in your story is in a condo with at

least 5 other people who have read your whole novel. It’s also fun to switch it up when you need a break and read each others first chapters.

Jeni Tolley, laughing at her own hilarious story

8. Long walks up unknown mounds of dirt with cement stairs is always rewarding. Especially if is leads to a giant crater in the ground and a spectacular view!

9. Everyone hits writers block or those tough parts in the story you just aren’t sure what to do with. But with three days of writing, we all managed to push through it and still get more writing in before we left.

10. Writing in bare feet is the most comfortable!

So would I do it again? In a heartbeat! Even though I don’t have kids to run away from, it was still nice not having to worry about cleaning up a messy house, or heading off to work, or even those back-of-the-mind projects that are always begging to get done. And yes, the view definitely helped!

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6 Comments

  1. Leisha Maw / May 11 2010 2:28 pm

    Ack! Everyone’s posts about the retreat sound Heavenly. I’m so sad I missed it. I know I said this on Nikki’s and Brodi’s blog, but I am sad. Snif. I keep thinking of all of your books, wondering what changes you all have made, kicking myself for not pushing myself with mine.

    It makes me want to book a condo and invite you all over. Hmmm. Maybe after school gets out.

    Great post! Glad you had fun.

    • Chersti Nieveen / May 11 2010 3:25 pm

      Leisha, we missed you! If you ever book a condo, let me know. And I really hope you get pushing through yours because I can’t wait to read the next draft.

  2. Nikki Mantyla / May 11 2010 3:31 pm

    Awesome pictures! Makes me wish I’d brought my camera. I’m totally bummed that I have no pictures of goats and dog biscuits, etc.

    • Chersti Nieveen / May 12 2010 9:21 am

      I really want a picture of that, too! I’m hoping Stacey send us copies soon.

  3. Jenilyn / May 11 2010 8:42 pm

    I wasn’t laughing at my story! I was trying to demonstrate a kissing face since we had suggested that kissing was the cure to problems in the last chapter. And then I started laughing.

    And, oh, the belly buttons!

    • Chersti Nieveen / May 12 2010 9:09 am

      Yep, that’s pretty much what I meant. But try summarizing that in a caption below a picture. . . which is why it turned out to be the shortened version. lol! But I am glad you clarified it here.

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