Marla Cooper

Writer’s retreat? Yes, please!

I’m going to keep this short and sweet this week, because my mind is on the task ahead of me: Book Two Revisions. (Dun, dun, DUNNNNN!!!) (That’s a dramatic musical vamp in case my attempted onomatopoeia wasn’t clear.)

For me, the difference between writing the first book in a series and writing the second book under contract was like night and day. (Note to self: while you’re editing, keep an eye out for clichés, such as “night and day.”)

The first book just tumbled right out of me like an improvised tune you whistle while you’re walking down the street. The second one? Well, it’s like someone set a stool in the middle of a stage in front of a theater full of people and said, “Okay, at 8:00, I want you to come out here and whistle a tune. Everyone you know will be watching. No pressure.”

In other words: Pressure.

But I’m ready for it. The first thing that’s working in my favor? I’ve somehow managed to get enough distance from Book Two that I’ve forgotten most of what happens in it. A month ago, when I was still mired in the plot, I wouldn’t have believed that would be possible, but here I am, about to start revising, and a lot of the detail has blurred, like when you think back on a movie you watched two years ago.

But my real secret weapon? An unexpected opportunity to escape for a four-day writer’s retreat. (I guess technically it’s an editing retreat, but that just doesn’t have the same romantic ring to it.)

My friend has a cottage in the wine country that she rents out on AirBnB. I’m free to use it anytime it isn’t booked—which is great except for the fact that it’s become wildly popular and is always booked. But right when I was thinking about how I really needed to focus, she had a cancellation for this week.

Here are all the wonderful features her house comes equipped with:

  • No laundry that needs to be done.
  • A lack of unfinished projects piled up in the corner that beckon me to finish them instead of work on my novel.
  • Lovely countertops that do not need to be replaced and therefore warrant no decisions on what color granite will go best with the rest of the room.
  • A garden that it is absolutely not my responsibility to weed.
  • Alarm-clock free bedrooms (and that includes no cat alarm that meows as soon as the sun comes up).
  • A couch that does not gently remind me that it will probably need to be replaced soon.

These features aren’t listed on the rental website, but that’s probably best. The place is popular enough already.

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12 thoughts on “Writer’s retreat? Yes, please!

  1. We need a Chicks retreat! And I bet we could get a few writer friends to join us. Strictly to work, of course.

    Like

    • That *would* be fun! I did that once with three other writers in a big house near the ocean. We dubbed the event “Plot Your Pants Off” and helped each other brainstorm. I believe some alcoholic beverages may have been consumed. (Ahem.)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Kaye! The other nice thing is that the book is set here in the California wine country, so I can wander outside for instant inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

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