Rainforest: A Working Vacation

I am back from five (not exactly fun-filled, but definitely enjoyable) days at the Rainforest Writers Retreat. A working vacation, if you will; the first writer’s retreat I’ve attended. No, I didn’t finish my current work-in-progress; I didn’t even write a short story. But I wrote words every day. And the rhythm of the day was delightful: wake, eat, write, learn, eat, write, walk or nap, learn, eat, mingle, write, and sleep. At the end of the day (and the workshop), I felt proud of what I’d accomplished. Everyone there was unfailingly kind, polite, and interesting.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to write when you’re at a retreat. No responsibilities. No worries. No noise, no traffic, no schedules, no problems. We had an entire restaurant to ourselves (it was off-off-off season), and so the atmosphere was more like a library with a killer view than anything else. Add to that a nearly palatable vibe of creativity from 30-plus writers, all supporting each other in proximity whilst each of us lived and breathed in the private worlds we’d created and pounded into various keyboards. Someday, we will release these various tales to our readers, but for now, they live only within the writer.

There was a whiteboard where we posted our word counts each day.  I am not a fast writer (never have been), but I was truly inspired at the daily word counts posted. I’m talking 30,000 words in 5 days by the top 3 or 4 authors. Not surprisingly, the highest word counts belonged to the pros–every one there a multiple best-selling author.  It was pretty obvious to me that the biggest difference between their writing speed and the rest of us is largely confidence.  They know how to write a story and no doubt were accustomed to writing to deadlines. I’ll get there someday…

Until then, I’ll treasure the sense of renewed commitment to my craft, and take some of the terrific lessons I learned from other writers there (“It’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint!”) and apply them to my own work.

And look forward to next year…


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