How I write: the summertime writing retreat


The Adirondack chair calls to me!  Sorry to admit it, but it’s not a wooden one but one of those “resin” things from Lowe’s.  Even so, it’s adequate and comfortable and close by, and serves as my headquarters for my summertime writing retreat.

Not every writer has the opportunity to visit a genuine writer’s colony once a year.  The last time I did anything equivalent to that was in 2000, when I drove to the town of Wendell, Massachusetts, and took a cabin in the woods at “Temenos” for a week of solitude.  What was wonderful were the forty plus pages of handwritten text that spun out of my mind during that time.  I don’t think anything compared to that productivity except last summer, when I penned about thirty pages just outside the window where I sit and write this entry.  That would be the side yard, with the Adirondack chair and small table, sandwiched between the house and neighbor’s fence.  It’s shady in early to late afternoon, and a wind-tunnel effect sometimes brings the most wonderful breeze that moderates the heat and humidity.

I use a hard-backed legal pad and Pilot Easy-Touch fine-point blue ink pen.  A medium nib just doesn’t work.  Iced tea or coffee is always nearby, but no other item but a book for reading.  I need to put the manuscript aside about once an hour to shift gears, and reading does the trick.

There it is, plain and simple; a summertime writing retreat without all the packing and travel and potential expense.  Simplicity and creative writing are solid companions, so don’t fall into thinking that you simply *must* be in a special place or mindset to write.  Adapt what presents itself and focus on production.  You may not come away feeling like you’ve written in some romantic retreat where another famous writer did, but you’ll be more than satisfied with the accomplishment you see on all those pages!

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