Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing on Wednesday - What I Did On My Writing Retreat

On Monday, I checked myself in. No, the walls weren't padded, and I have full use of my arms. I checked myself into a bed and breakfast a half-hour's drive north of where I live. The B&B at Mallard's Bay is a lovely place. Phoebe Hood, the owner, offers a "suite" that includes a bedroom, a sitting room, and a bathroom, and free run of the most of the rest of the place. Perfect place to hide away for a couple of days.

The sunroom where I wrote.
My favorite spot was the sun room, a glorious place at the back of the house, windows on three sides, and a wide open view across the Intracoastal Waterway to Topsail (pronounced TOP-sle) Island. (I'm in North Carolina, by the way). I sat in the sun room and wrote for hours. I went for walks. I sat on the dock and watched the brown pelican on the pylon twenty feet from me, the two great egrets stalking along the edge of the marshy area, the gulls and terns dancing on air. The ginormous dragonflies buzzing around. I think some of their cousins played the helicopters in Apocolypse Now!

Did I get anything done? Indeed! Here's what....
  • wrote 5,000+ words of mystery #2, tentatively called The Money Bird (feedback on my title idea welcome!)
  • booked my trip to Ireland in January - yeah!
  • wrote some blog posts related to the launch of Drop Dead on Recall - coming right up in October!
  • worked on a poem when I needed a "mystery break"
  • reflected on where I want to go writing-wise in the next few years

Traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway
I've done this before - checked myself into a hotel or B&B to write on my own schedule, and free up my mind. A change of scenery always does, I find. Now I'm back home, writing this at my favorite table in my favorite Panera Bread, where "everybody knows my name" - a cheery place, sans the beer!

Getting away may not work for every writer or creative soul, but if you're stuck, try it! Even a single night in an inspiring or private place can shake things loose and restart the creative juices.

I hope you'll come back for Artsy Fartsy Friday!


  1. I'd love to do the same!!! Why don't you tell us the 3 or 4 fave B&Bs you recommend?

    1. Oh, boy. Often I go to a motel/hotel rather than B&B. This is only the second time I've done this here in NC. The first time I went to The Islander Inn at Ocean Isle Beach. The rates off-season are pretty reasonable at a lot of places on the beach, and that time I took my Lab, Lily, with me for company and beach walks. I'm planning to learn more about NC and neighboring retreats, though. Lynn - do you have some favorites? Anybody, anybody? (hoping for some Ferris Bueller fans out there...)

    2. If I could click my heels together, I'd go to Jekyll Island in GA.
      But most important, you've awakened my imagination. I've been needing some alone/away time for my writer's heart.

    3. Yay! My work here is done! :-)

      Seriously, you know what I would love to do? Get 3-5 writers together to take over a B&B or stay in a nice hotel or rent a beach or mt. house for a joint retreat for a few days. Rules would apply so everyone could do the work they need to do, but there'd me company for discussions, responses, .... Wouldn't that be fun?

    4. OMG Sheila, you are my new sister. I can't until after 6/1/13, as I am babysitting my infant grandson until then, but man, after that, I would be SO there. Wherever THERE is.

  2. Sheila, I do the same thing several times a year. The uninterrupted think time is as important as the uninterrupted writing time. looks like you found the perfect spot!

    1. It's a lovely area, Kathleen. And really, we must get together somewhere, sometime. :-)

  3. This is a great B&B--relax to the max!