Sunday, March 27, 2011

writing retreats. in the real world.

So I've never been to Yaddo or one of those places where writers sequester themselves all day and have baskets of lunch left outside their doors seemingly by elves.

I've never scuttled off, by myself, to an island or the woods or a ranch hundreds of miles from nowhere--though I do often vacation in those sorts of places with my family.

When I do go off on a solitary writing retreat, I prefer cheap motels. Typically, I book the largest room in the least expensive motel I can find. Space is important because I like to spread my work out on the floor, on my bed, on the couch, indeed, on any horizontal surface. I bring my printer, my research material, the latest printed draft, my notes, several of my favorite books, my thesaurus and my ten pound American Heritage Dictionary. My only requirements are free wi-fi and a bathtub.

I like the motel to be walking distance from a park and a bustling downtown area where I can walk for my morning coffee and nightly martini.

This coming week I have such an expedition planned. I head off to Bend on Thursday with three days' worth of supplies and all the aforementioned paraphernalia. Amid the myriad resorts and bed and breakfasts I'm staying at the EconoLodge where I've booked a suite, and I feel mighty smug about it all.

Writers, what's your dream retreat?


  1. My DREAM retreat is somewhere with warm weather & pretty scenery so I can take walks. And a yoga class nearby to undo all that hunching over my laptop.

    In reality, it's just various hotel rooms around town. My most productive retreat was at a motel in Manzanita. Spread my novel out, woke up at 6am and write until evening.

  2. I'm with you, Suzy. I need to be able to go out for coffee, walk on sidewalks, look people in the eye. I guess one big variation for me is that these days I'd probably pay extra for NO wifi.

  3. Liz: was that sunset surf or that crooked little place by the post office?

    Sara: Wi-Fi is blessing/curse, I know... but luckily there's that "turn off airport wifi" thingy on the MacBook. Of course I rarely employ it.

  4. i've been hunting down a weekend writing retreat as my new way to procrastinate this week. my aunt and uncle have this great little one-bedroom apartment/boathouse on their property that i've used before, but now they're son and his soon-to-be wife are living there. it's killing me i can't check out of my house and drive 20 minutes up the road to stay there for the night. my husband says, "why don't i just take the kids for the day," because he doesn't get that i can't be IN OUR HOUSE...way too many distractions.

  5. Seaside, OR is where I would retreat to. I would play skee ball in between writing.

  6. Seaside is an awesome escape for writers. Just the right mixture of humanity and ocean.

    Am here at my truckstop motel--settling in and spreading out my Empress stuff. I have a fabulous view of a dumpster.


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