I would sell my soul – if I had one – for a quiet place in the woods.

Here’s my story:

I sold my house so I could afford to write my current project without a contract. This means it could be two or three years before the book is published, if it sells at all. (On the positive side, my agent has read the first 40 pages and thinks it has the potential to be something big, and he feels I need to focus and get it written.) I’ve always wondered about living in a condo – nothing to take care of and all that – so I signed a six-month lease on a 700 square-foot condo in an old Victorian mansion.

And I’m losing my fucking mind. I might have to kill somebody before this is over.

The noise is absolutely unbearable, not to mention all the other crap/repairs that never seem to stop and nobody feels responsible for. But anyway, the noise is creatively crippling. I would sell my soul for a place in the woods. My lease is up the end of November, and I’ve been watching craigslist, but so far haven’t spotted anything promising. Does anyone know of anyplace in the country where I can rent a secluded place (that isn’t a dump) for under 1K a month? I’d prefer the Midwest or the Georgia/Florida area, but would consider other spots.

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What happened to the Savannah Plan?
steven,
my one year plan to straighten out my life has been extended to two years for a lot of different reasons. :D one being that my agent thinks i need to move on this story, and i think he's right. i've continued to look in savannah. there are quite a few places i could rent by the month in the historic district, but at the moment i've reached my saturation point as far as people go, and i don't think i can live in a building with other people without going crazy and stabbing someone. the other choice would be a cottage rental somewhere like tybee island, but they're too expensive for any kind of lengthy stay. so i feel kind of stuck, even though i did not want to spend another winter in minnesota.
Really, don't stab someone. Nobody wants to have to write that newstory.
"Best-selling thriller writer Anne Frasier stabbed her upstairs neighbor yesterday, claiming she "couldn't take the noise of the tae-bo practice anymore."
Really.
but bethany, that might be just the media coverage i need. my next book would be guaranteed to hit the NYT. now i can't decide if i want to sell my soul or kill the neighbors. hmm. that's a tough one. okay, this is going to look really bad if by some freaky chance somebody actually does kill the woman.
stephen
This doesn't seem in your time frame or length of stay, but I thought I'd mention it for other women writers--Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island (www.hedgebrook.org). There's an application process and stays range from two weeks to two months. And it's absolutely free (and this includes food!). The application deadline is fast approaching, so if anyone is interested for next year, check it out ASAP.

I did Hedgebrook more than 10 years ago, and it was extremely helpful in reemersing me back into my manuscript. (I had a very stressful job at the time.)

BTW, I moved to Kansas to write in the past--talk about inexpensive! The weather is quite uncomfortable, but the people are congenial and public services (like libraries) excellent. But for the most part, it's fairly flat, so you have to think that flat can be beautiful.
naomi, thanks so much. that's the kind of thing i've been looking for. even though the timing isn't right, i think it might still work for me. i'm going to apply. gulp. never written an essay in my life. that could be my downfall. and i know what you mean about kansas. i've been thinking about going back to iowa because the cost of living is so low. my savings would last 3 years rather than 1.

i should probably start a retreat thread so people can post this kind of info.
Here's a link for you:
http://www.thesmartshopperonline.com/upload/8-14-07%20web.pdf

Scroll down to p. 38 (after it loads; it's quite large) and you'll see rents in the first column. I see several that might interest you!
There are two options I can think of: soundproofing (I know, a big expense for a rental), and some decent headphones and ... HEAVY METAL! The AKG K171s are great for blocking out external sounds, even when you're not listening to music. Or, for a cheaper pair, maybe some Sennheiser HD 280 Pros. Actually, here's a whole bunch to choose from.

I am such an audio dork.
thanks to everybody who responded to this with such good ideas and suggestions. i've been working on my hedgebrook application all day. i think i'm too much of a pulp fiction writer for them, but i'm sending the application in anyway.

daniel, please smack me upside the head. i can't believe i didn't think of that. i tend to think about ipod earbuds -- pretty useless for eliminating noise unless you crank up the sound too much -- and earplugs, but i didn't think of headphones. whenever i travel with my "kids" they reach into their backpacks and pull out giant studio headphones. i laugh and roll my eyes, but then i tried them once and wow. completely eliminated the plane noise. always thought of getting a pair, but the expense and massive giantness kept me from doing it because i didn't feel i would use them enough. now that's changed. thanks for the link, because i was clueless.
I feel for you. My house can get so noisy with the $%^& lawnmowers and leaf blowers nearby, I've put my obnoxious neighbors in the next book. (One's a perv, one's a wifebeater, unless they mend their ways.)

Have you considered upstate New York? Beautiful and great values after September. Search Sullivan County real estate.
Good luck.

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