My New Writing Retreat

A writing retreat can mean something different to every writer. To me it means a space to get away from work and family and some of the distracting elements in my life for some period of time (be it hours or days).

Sometimes it means a distant and isolated house in the middle of nowhere ... like this one in Iceland (no, I haven't been there, but I'd like to visit). I've found that while that's a nice idea, I don't need that level of isolation and quiet and peace. Last winter, I was able to do some good writing in the middle of a crowded ski-lodge with the help of good headphones and a favorite playlist of music to help me focus on writing and ignore the milling masses.

I'm a big fan of doing my writing in the presence of other writing, so a space like the one pictured above would feel wonderful, I imagine ... the words and thoughts and time and care washing over me while I scribble. That being said, I normally write with my Kindle (loaded with a few hundred of my favorite books) handy, along with a wifi connection for research and reference, and seem to do just fine.

When writing, I like to have a connection with the natural world ... the feel of a breeze, smell of balsam sap, sound of rain, the movement of leaves/needles/beasts at the edge of my peripheral vision. It helps me maintain the feeling of nature as a character in my writing. A nice view is often enough, although the sensation of real air playing across my fingers and face is also nice.

The reason I'm writing about this this morning is that I'm on a short-term writing retreat. I headed out to Origin Coffee Co. in nearby Saranac Lake this morning a bit before 6:30am, and have been working on my next novel for a few wonderful hours at a small table way in the back.

It was very quiet (not shocking for an early Sunday morning) when I first arrived, but even as the morning wore on, I've been pleasantly surprised at the peaceful vibe it has maintained. I've been listening to some Mozart and the soundtrack to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", but been able to keep it low enough that I can still hear the rain pattering on the roof outside the open window off to my right.

They have wifi, and I've been able to look up some items and maps and such (as well as write/post this blog), and add a few needed articles and books to my Kindle. The view is lovely and with an open window, I'm constantly reminded of the nearness of wilderness by the feel of cold, clean air, and the sound of rain and wind.

I've been paying rent by way of buying something to eat or drink every hour, which also gives me a reason to stand and stretch and walk about a bit; this is working for me better than I had any right to hope/expect.

I look forward to doing this on a regular basis, and hope that everyone reading this can find a similarly easy and friendly and pleasant writing retreat for themselves ... you're welcome to use this one, but don't expect me to chat much (although I promise to wave as I wander by to pay my rent.



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