Sunday, October 22, 2017

What exactly do you do on a writer’s retreat, anyway? (Pelee Island Book House #1)

I had the incredible opportunity to go to a writer’s retreat at the Pelee Island book house. It’s a beach house on a pretty remote island in Lake Erie in Canada-land. I learned a ton, wrote a bunch, and have some writerly wisdom to pass on. Or basically, you can learn from the things I did…while not precisely wrong, certainly things I could’ve done better.

A writer’s retreat is an awesome step away from the day to day grind. The Pelee Island one was my third retreat over the last few years. A week spent talking with a small group of other writers, in various places with their career and their craft. This particular retreat was uber special because of the included workshop. 

The time was awesome, but probably the best was getting an opportunity to spend nearly two whole days listening, learning and asking questions of Chuck Wendig. If you don’t know Chuck, just stop right here and go to his blog. Read a post about writing advice and come back so you can have a full appreciation about the incredible opportunity this retreat represented, on all levels.

I went with vaguely large aspirations about what it was that I was going to accomplish on this retreat. I mean, it was a whole week. And if I had nothing ostensibly to do other than write? I mean, that’s got to be, what, at least 20k words, right?

Nope. In fact, as I write this, it’s Thursday. The retreat goes from Monday to Sunday. It’s Thursday and writing this blog post is the most typing I’ve done so far.

Don’t get me wrong, I did spend a good amount of time rereading the first book of my series, which honestly wasn’t even on the radar for the week at all. Nope, it was supposed to be the second book getting revised and maybe the third book getting written. 20k words is so…many…words. It’s nearly a novella. And I have written nothing so far, except this blog post. More about that in a later post.

What, you may be asking, am I doing, if I’m not writing? Well. Talking, eating, sleeping, learning, reading, pondering, watching birds, looking for snakes (strictly to avoid snakes). It’s a pretty primitive island, so driving around in a purple Challenger is pretty, um, ostentatious? I’m pretty sure they thought I was someone famous. Anyway. These are the things I’ve been doing. In fairness, when Chuck was here, it was a no contest kind of thing. And he got here Monday late afternoon and left Wednesday afternoon. So there were a couple days that were spent in a lets-learn-craft-and-become-better-writers mode! Important things, that may make the writing time at home all that much more fruitful.

I learned so much. So much that a single blog post would feel reductive. So, let it suffice to say, there will be more words coming out of the Pelee Island book retreat, if only in blog post format.

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