Retreats Make Book-Writing Possible

"Are you working on another novel?" readers often ask. The answer is a happy YES, and it's seeming—today, at least—easier this time. My novel in process is set in contemporary times and tells the story of a mother of three who has reached a breaking point. 

And because people are waiting to read this one—a new experience for me—I'm going away to write. When writing Lilli de Jong, I took occasional retreats to dive deep and stay there for two to three days at a stretch. Those times were exhausting (15-plus hours of writing a day) but crucial. As Elizabeth Gilbert puts in Big Magic, “I do not know of any creative soul who does not dream of calm, cool, grass-growing days in which to work without interruption." 

The writing-retreat location I love dearly in the Philadelphia region is Pendle Hill, a calm, caring retreat and conference center just outside the city, near Media, PA. To learn about taking a retreat of any sort at this special place infused with the Quaker values of simplicity and respect, click here. 

And I'm actually a little embarrassed to share a bit of good fortune: In August, I'll be spending two weeks at a writers' and artists' retreat center in southern France! This is not my usual mode of operating, folks. I am unspeakably excited and a little nervous about stepping so far outside my usual tiny realm. The beautiful center, called La Muse, offers retreats year-round, with private rooms and shared kitchens, and draws people from around the world. One can fly to nearby Carcassonne cheaply from many European cities on RyanAir. Click here to learn more. If you inquire, tell Kerry and John I sent you. 

If you long for freedom to create, you may be able to find a way. For years, I've just gotten an hour here and there--but eventually, it's so useful to have a larger chunk of time. Renting a place works, but spending money on lodging isn't necessary. You could ask to borrow the home of friends or family for a few nights while they're away, or stay with someone and spend days at the local library or art center or doing whatever brings depth to your days. At times this just isn't possible. But when it is, everyone in our lives gains from our increased happiness when we take time to recharge. 

Here's to you and your creative spirit.

Janet BentonComment