Fellow author Laura Alden and I hosted a retreat for writers last weekend. We took over a small inn in northern Lower Michigan. We sent each writer who arrived to a quiet place for hours at a time with the demand that they "Just write!"

Everyone who attended was pleased with the amount of work accomplished. It's amazing what a person can get done when no phone rings, no laundry buzzer sounds, no spouse pounds in the basement, and no kids interrupt to ask what's for dinner.

Another advantage was the ambiance. I think we each felt encouraged by the sight of the others working away: some editing with paper and pen, some typing away on laptops, and some sketching an outline. (I even sketched the murder scene for my next book, although the way I draw, it looks a lot like a Rorschach ink blot.) If the group was tempted to linger too long over lunch or breakfast, one determined soul would rise and say, "I'm going to get some work done," and soon all of us would be back on task.

Of course there was that precious face time with other authors. The discussions included books we like, books we don't like, publishing, books, agents, readers, books, fans (crazy and otherwise), working conditions and books. There were other topics at some points, but put a bunch of writers together, and it's mostly going to be about books.

Some think it's unnecessary to pay money to find a place to write. "You can write at home," they say. Yes, I can. In fact, I do. But once in a while it's great to play Thoreau and remove myself from the world. I guess I would say, "I went to the inn because I wanted to write deliberately."

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Comment by Peg Herring on March 22, 2011 at 7:21am

We were in Central Lake (between Petoskey and T.C.) but it could be done in other places. The Blue Pelican Inn there was really good to us, and we had the whole place to ourselves.

Yeah, all those plans you make to write while the kids are asleep just never work out!

Comment by Deborah Harter Williams on March 22, 2011 at 4:22am
Where abouts did you meet?  I was in Birmingham recently taking care of my sister's kids while she was out of town.  Needless to say, no writing got done.

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