Friday, April 17, 2009

Planning a Writers' Retreat

Around a month ago, I received an email from a cruise line company with fares so low, my mouth dropped. I happened to be talking to my friend online at the time, and mentioned the price in passing for the 4-day weekend cruise. I joked with her that we should go on a writing cruise, and she jumped at the idea. Spending four days on a boat stuck in the middle of the ocean, eating and drinking all day with our laptops on our laps sounded like heaven.

Unfortunately, the dates of the cruise didn't work with our schedules, but the seed was planted for a writers' retreat. Yesterday we booked a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, with an amazing garden, in Solvang, CA for three days. Solvang is a sleepy Danish town tucked away in the San Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County about two and a half hours outside of Los Angeles. Rolling hills surround the town that is known for great food, bakeries and candle making.

This will be my first experience traveling to write. I can't explain to you how excited I am, yet also leery. Leery? Scared? It's not the travel, or staying in a Bed and Breakfast for the first time, it's the fear of having writer's block. The trepidation of sitting the whole weekend starting at a blank screen, wasting away in a chair and having nothing to show for the weekend.

I plan to start my new story, Parlor, while there. In the next two weeks (the trip is May 1-3), I hope to have the lore and basic plot down so that I have no excuses.

For those of you who have planned a trip around writing, how did you make sure you were fully prepared when you got there?


Winter Hansen said...

Though I haven't yet gone on a writing retreat, this is exactly what I've been plotting to do for months now. Finding an inexpensive, well-equipped location at the right time for a few dedicated writers is a fine balance to strike. I think it must come down to research and timing. I only wish the inexpensive coastal yurts at the state parks had WiFi!

Tami Klockau said...

Hey Winter,

That was my big thing. Semi-cheap (it's only $199 a night and we're sharing a room), free wifi, free breakfast each day and a beautiful local not too far away.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes! I can't wait, but the plotting of the new project is the key.

Suzanne Young said...

This sounds great! When I go, I just make sure to keep trying. Sometimes when I get stuck, I write out of sequence to keep the story interesting. And I eat small candies while I'm typing. :-)

Tami Klockau said...


Ahhh, CANDY! Candy must be the key!

Note to self: bring LOTS of candy. Oh yeah, and my computer/thumb drive/charger. ;)

Have a great time if you take your trip!