Monday, June 24, 2013

Mini Retreat

Have you ever dreamed of hibernating in a cabin in the woods or a beach house on the ocean or a lakeside getaway with nothing to do but write? No telephones or internet or any other time waster like Solitaire or Pyramid. I wrote in a previous post about a week-long retreat I'll be attending in Alpine, Texas. I am so looking forward to it, but it's a month away.

However, it occurred to me I could go on a mini-retreat any weekday right here in my hometown. Monday through Friday. Nine a.m until six p.m. It's cool. It's quiet, most of the time. It has spacious tables to spread out all the usual writer paraphernalia we tend to carry around.

I pull my little box on wheels full of my stuff and sit myself down in the farthest corner I can find and get to work. Then when I reach my daily word count or time allotment I load everything up and get on with other things. Also, if I feel the need to work on the weekends, the larger branches in the parish are open.

If you haven't guessed, my retreat site is the public library. Calcasieu Parish has twelve branches. I usually go to the one in my town, but I'm not too far from any of the larger ones that are open on Saturday and Sunday.

Only one problem. I worked at my hometown library for 28 years, so I know almost everyone who comes in. Sometimes they like to stop by my table and chat, but that's okay since I always like seeing everyone again. If I want anonymity I'll go to one of the other branches.

So if you're ever frustrated by all the chaos you might be living in, consider the library for your mini-retreat.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Writer's Retreat: Scratch One Off My Bucket List

It's finally going to happen. I've been dreaming about a writer's retreat forever, and now I get to scratch it off my bucket list. Every year the Writers' League of Texas offers a week-long retreat in Alpine, Texas, at Sul Ross State University. This year it will run from July 21 through July 26 and offers five classes. I have registered for Shaping Your Book to Sell, an intensive workshop on revision with Carol Dawson. Since I'm involved with revising my novel, Wild Justice, it sounds like exactly what I need: five days of classes from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. working with a professional.

There seems to be something for every writer, no matter the genre. Long Form Journalism in a Short-Form World is offered for those wanting to break into newspaper or magazine writing. For fiction writers Writing the Novel: The Basics with historical novelist Karleen Koen is available. If you're a poet you've got One-Week Exercise Program: Forms, Formulas, and More with Poet and Editor Scott Wiggerman. And, finally, The Art of Memoir: Discovering and Deepening Your Story with award-winning memoirists Donna M. Johnson and Christine Wicker, for those who want to get their own story written for whatever reason.

I just wish there was more time. I'd like to take at least two more of the classes. Maybe next year. If you're interested go to and read all about it.

One last note. I'll be going on a mini-retreat in September after Labor Day. My four daughters and I are renting a beach house in Crystal Beach near Galveston for two nights. They can walk on the beach and romp in the Gulf. I'll be ensconced on the porch writing. It's going to be a fun summer.