My First Retreat

February 10th, 2013

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Back in November, I went to my first writers retreat. It was on the coast of Deception Pass and it was wonderful.

During the LDStorymakers Conference I went to last May, I met the president of a writing group for LDS women called American Night Writers Association (ANWA). In a class later that day, I sat next to a woman who happened to run the ANWA Retreat in my area and she told me all about it!

When I got home, I made a point of looking up ANWA and joining a few months later. (At first I thought I needed to join to attend the retreat, but found out later it wasn’t required.) When the retreat came in November, I was very excited. It was taking me a long time to write my novel (i.e., I kept re-writing the same first chapter over and over), so I decided to use a new method of writing I was testing out where I covered the screen and just kept writing without editing.

And that’s what I did.

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I found quiet spots at the retreat, covered my screen with folders, put on my headphones and let myself write almost non-stop for two days. And man alive, it was a blast!

Sadly, I decided afterward that that method of writing didn’t suit me and I’m not using any of the 18,805 words I wrote in that word document. But it was still fun and I learned some valuable lessons, so it’s okay.

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The biggest highlight of the retreat was meeting these women. They were genuine, kind and talented. And they all loved to write something. It was such a treat to be among them and hope that I belonged. And it was so fun just being with a bunch of girls (a rare commodity at my house!). I dearly wished we could somehow get together every month.

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Another highlight of the retreat was entering the Flash Fiction contest. The night before they announced the winners, I had a nightmare that they yelled at me and told me my story stunk. So I was incredibly relieved when I went to breakfast and found out I’d won second place!!!

When they handed out the awards, I jokingly told them about my nightmare and we all had a good laugh. But then they asked us to read our stories outloud. When it was my turn, my whole body shook and my heart tried to pound a hole through my ribs. I said in all seriousness, “If I’d known they were going to ask me to read it outloud, THIS would have been my nightmare!”

Never, in all my writing, had I had the desire to go in front of a group of people and read my work outloud. I’d purposefully avoided those classes and situations both at the conference and the retreat. But there I was. So I took a breath and made the best of it. And when I finished, the feeling in the room was one of total awe. The looks on their faces said it all and by the time I sat back down in my chair, I realized there was a special magic in what I’d just done. And it was pretty cool.

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1 Comment

Vicki | 2/12/2013 11:11 am

Enjoyed the details of your writing retreat, so glad you had that opportunity and that you had a great time there. The surroundings are certainly beautiful. You certainly have a lot of talent in writing.
Your brother is writing a book too.

 

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