The SCBWI-sponsored writer's retreat at Green Gulch Farm in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, on Feb. 1 - 3 was just what I needed. A whole weekend of writing -- with NO interruptions. Heavenly! Set amidst a grove of Eucalyptus trees, a mere 20 min. walk from Muir Beach, the tranquility of this Zen retreat was the place to nurse your muse. The price of the retreat included healthy vegetarian meals served in the main dining hall. Most of the writers' rooms were housed in an octagonal building with a common kitchen and sitting area, perfect for commiserating with your fellow writers. The simplicity of the rooms (one bed, a writng desk and a corner chair), offered little distraction from our tasks at hand--writing--except for a large window opening onto the lush, untamed beauty of Green Gulch farm. If it wasn't for the raging storm that descended upon us that weekend, I might have been sorely tempted to commune with Nature instead of my Muse.
During the retreat, I got to re-connect with a couple of writers I had met previously at other writers' conferences and workshops (Anne Marie Turner and Elizabeth Shreeve), and met new ones. Informal evening critique groups, delicious vegetarian meals, water-cooler conversations in the kitchen on all things writing, and infinite supplies of coffee and snacks -- who could ask for anything more?
All day Saturday, slashing rain pelted the windows of my little room, and winds whipped the Eucalyptus trees into a frenzied hula dance. Nothing to do really, but write. And write I did! There's something so freeing about letting the words flow, and immersing yourself in something creative for hours at a time. Ahhh ... this is what it feels like to be a full time writer.
I didn't walk away from the retreat with the Great American Novel, but I did completely revise a picture book manuscript, crafted a skeletal outline of a 10 min. play I'm planning on submitting to the New Plays Festival at Mendocino College, and with my writing soul completely refreshed.
I am soooo coming back next year!