Friday, July 24, 2009

Retreating to Write

Sometimes, no matter how enthusiastic you are about the book you want to write, life gets in the way. Distractions from other (paying) work and stress about family crises get in the way of creativity - not to mention in the way of time to write! So this summer I decided to take some time off for a one-woman writing retreat.

I headed down to Wyoming to combine writing time with a few necessary visits to my chiropractor. The drive went well, I had all my reference materials and all my plotting notebooks, I felt inspired and excited. And when I arrived and set up in my distraction-free workspace, I discovered two things: the air conditioning was dead, and that part of Wyoming was on track for near-record-breaking temperatures. Oh - and the air conditioning repair people were booked solid due to the temperatures and the fact that most people had neglected their air conditioning repairs until the summer heat got to be a really big problem.

The idea of my writing retreat had been to get away from distractions. To my surprise, heat can be as much of a distraction as other work and stress. When you feel as if you're melting away at 85 degrees in your office (yes, I got a room thermometer to confirm just how hot it was), it's hard to concentrate on the fates of your characters. Fortunately my husband (who'd been the cause of some of the stress, and work, and other previous distractions) pulled some strings from afar and arranged for an air conditioning repairman to come work some magic later today to give me some cool air. Ah, if only I could wave my wand, say Reparo! and do the job myself. But clearly, not attending Hogwarts has left me at a disadvantage here. So I shall just keep my fingers crossed and hope that the repairman has more practice with Reparo, and that the house will cool down by evening.

Oh, and I should add that I'd intended for my book to take place in the fall, but I'm beginning to think that setting it in the spring, with the threat of summer heat coming on, will be a more intense time of year. After all, you can light fires, pile on extra clothes, pad yourself with newspapers, and find shelter to stay warm in winter. There's a limit to how many clothes you can take off in the heat, and you'll still feel wilted and sweaty and cranky. See? My writing retreat has yielded results already.


  1. I think that you are very talented and I think you should continue to do what you do and if you have any adivce for a young girl who wanted to be an author what would it be???

  2. I never read one of your books but I would really like to. They sound really good and people seem to get into them!

  3. If I was the young girl that wanted to be an author my adivce to her would be to follow your dreams and never ever give up hope. Keep pushing your self till you are the best you can be. If people wanted to follow their dreams they should get of the couch and follow chase it down until you win the race.
    That is my advice but of course I am not the author of any of the book by Elaine Alphin she is very talented!