Michaeline: A Cabin Retreat

Ah, no cooking, no cleaning, just writing, writing, writing! (A summer fantasy by Michaeline Duskova.)

Ah, no cooking, no cleaning, just writing, writing, writing! (A summer fantasy by Michaeline Duskova.)

I’m visiting relatives in the US this week, and spent Monday and Tuesday nights in a darling little cottage at Worlds of Fun Village. I can’t stop thinking about what a great writing retreat it would have made!

I’m sure you’ve read anecdotes about how this writer checked into a hotel or that writer escaped to a friend’s cabin to start or finish a book. It makes good sense. Being someplace that’s Not Home makes it easier to ignore the thousands of things at home that need to be done. A writer can sit down and really concentrate on his or her writing.

What I liked about my cottage could be duplicated in a lot of places.

1. Power. My cottage had electricity, but in a more rustic retreat, I would make sure I had batteries for my computer, or I might even switch to long hand for a change of pace.

2. Food for the writer. I stashed water and yogurt in the fridge, and nibblies on the counter. The grocery store was not so far away, so if I had stocked up, I wouldn’t have to leave for days.

3. Entertainment. This is a double-edged tool. I feel guilty about sneaking away from my family for a weekend, but being near an amusement park meant that I could have sent everyone away for the morning, and gotten a solid block of writing time in. Also, blowing off steam in the park during the afternoon, or relaxing in the hot tub in the evening can induce that relaxed state that brings about creativity. Good for them, good for me.

4. Wi-fi. This place had the perfect internet arrangements for me. I couldn’t actually connect in the cottage, but if I had had a fact checking emergency, I could have run up to the office for all the bars I needed. This may be hard to duplicate, but there are many nanny apps that can turn off my internet for me.

Nothing like a cool cave on a hot day! (Michaeline Duskova, 2014)

Nothing like a cool cave on a hot day! (Michaeline Duskova, 2014)

Some of you may have noticed my use of the conditional in this post. I just couldn’t drag myself away from family fun time. But my family let me drag them to fabulous manmade caves of Subtropolis. George Diaz, the antagonist of my book, The Djini and Ms. Jones, wants to build an underground mall to save the little town of Evanston from economic starvation, and I got a good feel for the atmosphere underground.

So, the trip wasn’t a washout. The kids will be in school in two weeks, and I’ll have time to write again — either by stealing away to a cheapie beach bungalow, arranging a staycation, or just blocking out some time and erecting my mental barriers. I have a primed pump, so let the writing flow.

How are you making time for writing this August?

16 thoughts on “Michaeline: A Cabin Retreat

  1. There are lots of caves and caverns in my home county of Derbyshire, Michaeline. We used to get taken there on school trips . There are stalactites,stalagmites, lakes, Blue John precious stone, the fossilised remains of ammonites and leaves from tropical plants, all kinds of wonderful things. Google ‘Derbyshire caves’ and check out the images. It might give you some inspiration for the natural caves of Hadiz’s empire – and yes, that is that’s pure self-interest on my part. I really want to read that book 🙂

    I haven’t done any writing since I got back from Texas. I just about had time to unpack my bags and write last week’s 8LW post. Since then I’ve been busy with the sale of my mother’s house – she’s now in residential accommodation. I’ve been making a few notes here and there, but honestly my subconscious has been fully occupied dealing with several generations worth of family stuff. The job is almost done now – all being well, the new owner should take possession on Tuesday – and then my plan is to come back to London, put my head in my manuscript, and not come out again until it’s finished.

    • Glad to hear the sale is going through and you can begin to devote your time to the book. I haven’t done much either, so we’re both in the same boat. Your mom’s house closes on Tuesday; my kids go back to school on Monday. I’ll be doing the same thing as you! Good luck!

      • Those busy times can go two ways — they take up a lot of subconscious thought, and let’s face it, a lot of creativity sometimes, too. But, they bring you into contact with new situations, new people and new ways of thinking. I wish you the best of luck for settling down and getting some writing done! (And if I’m taking a virtual tour of Derbyshire as soon as I’m done unpacking — on my way to Tokyo now! Someday, I hope it’ll be a real life tour.)

  2. I think getting having cabin retreat is the ultimate writing fantasy, but it’s not exactly cheap. I though about housesitting. I wonder if any writers do that to get away and get their head down?

    • That’d be a nice side job, house-sitting on weekends. You can make decent money doing that, plus being in someone else’s house means aside from probably feeding a pet, you’d not be distracted by anything else in the home and could just work. I say give it a try!

      • Cabins can come in all ranges and sizes — depends on how much comfort you need to write, I think. And housesitting sounds like a great way to escape The House At Home which has a million chores waiting — you’ll have a clearly defined “things to do” list, and can pace yourself. I like it! Wish I had a housesitting opportunity and the time to take it!

  3. My goal for this month until I write “The End” is to put in a minimum of an hour a day, first thing, every day without fail, no matter what tasks await me for my paid living. I’m revising now, so it’s going better. I’m at my mother’s right now; the birds are tweeting out there the old-fashioned way, and all is otherwise quiet. Making good progress!

    • Congrats on the progress, Kay! My kids start back to school on Monday and I’m desperately looking forward to quiet time around here (without interruptions!) so I can get back to it. I’ve been into my book a little bit, but I’ve been more like Jilly — not been able to spend enough time on it to really make any forward progress.

      • (-: My mom’s place was not writing paradise — two-hour breakfasts followed by a quick run here or there which took all afternoon. (-: Different kind of paradise. My mom likes kites — maybe I’ll choose the Air Element for my next book instead of the Earth element. Glad to hear you are making good progress, Kay!

  4. I went to Port Townsend, WA for a workshop a couple of years ago. The workshop was great, but mostly I’d love to spend a week in that beautiful little town writing and walking by the ocean.

    • There’s a lovely little B&B near Vancouver, WA that I’d love to spend a long weekend at. As an alternate, my sister’s friend has a home on Whidbey Island…I wonder if I could rent it for cheap one weekend (perhaps in exchange for cleaning it?).

    • How did they schedule your time at the workshop, Jeanne? Was it a writing workshop or dayjob? Either way, I’d like to hear how they structured the time, and how it worked for you. It sounds like a beautiful place!

  5. Years ago, when I couldn’t afford a reg fee for a local conference, I did an at-home weekend retreat. Kids were at their father’s house. It was four days of writing, walks, trips to the coffee house, etc

    The last one I did was at a friend’s weekend place about three hours away. No internet or cell reception there. It was quiet and relaxing. I worked on the story WIP (at that time) and came up with another story or two. They’re all sitting on the sidelines while I work on the McD one. Now that the program is over, I can try another weekend and concentrate on more pages for The One I Will Finish.

    • That sounds great! So, Ann, is The One You Will Finish the one you did for class, or are you branching out into other areas? I did NaNo with something new, but now that my vacation is almost at an end, I think I’m ready to work hard on The Djini and Ms. Jones (my class book, and my very first NaNo) until mid-October.

      What an exciting time for you! LOL, merging back into the right lane of reality!

      • Thanks Michaeline! The One I Will Finish is the one from the class. I’d started on it about a month or two before I’d even signed up for the program. I skipped NaNo last year (gee I wonder why) but had done it in each the three years prior. I’ve one well with the word counts when I did NaNo. Each year I hit 50K sooner. I think the 2012 count was somewhere around 60K+. Extra incentive came from the Maryland Word War with Texas (Crabs vs. Lushguins).

        Your title is awesome. Makes me wonder what’s going on.

        Reality. Yeah. We’ll see how that goes. Haha!

        • LOL, my title is thanks to Jilly.

          And yeah, I didn’t do NaNo during class year, either. I probably should have cheated and done it with my WIP that year (I do remember getting some wordcount in that way), but there were Other Things going on in class that I didn’t want to miss out on.

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