My First Writer’s Retreat, or what do you do in a state park?

I just got back from my first writer’s retreat.  I stayed in a screened shelter in Martin Dies, Jr. State Park.  It seems like a wilderness retreat, but to be fair, I had a roof, electricity, and a typical running-water restroom within easy walking distance.  There was no internet or television, but that was sort of the point, and I managed to survive without air conditioning.  I wouldn’t exactly call it roughing it.

When I went camping the last time, in October, my mom asked me what I do when I’m camping.  She couldn’t think of much to do in a state park, finally concluding that she would be happy to roast marshmallows over a campfire before getting bored and wanting to go home.  I’m the weirdo outdoors-girl in a family of indoor people, I’m afraid.

One of my friends asked a similar question, however, when he found out I was going camping for three nights.   He wanted to know if I was going to get bored.  Honestly, I was a little concerned about that myself, which is why I brought a magazine, two books, and my knitting as well as my computer for writing.

It turns out I found plenty to do while I was on my retreat.  I hiked and walked a lot; my best estimate is that I walked over 12 miles in the course of two and a half days.  I did a bit of birding, although if I couldn’t find the bird or didn’t know what a call was, I didn’t spend too much time on it.  I slept, not as much or as well as I was hoping, but I got to sleep in and nap.  I did knit some, and read some, although I finished the magazine the first day and then didn’t open a book until the last evening.  I relaxed, I rested, and I even did some personal reflection.

The bulk of my waking time, though, was spent writing.  Even while hiking I was working on stories and blog posts.  I finished With Honor on the first day.  I re-read the existing chapters of Dragon Pendant, so I could get back into the story, and ended up writing two and a half chapters plus three major upcoming scenes.  I finally resolved some plot troubles with that story, as well.  I wrote nine blog posts, including two Steps to a Story posts and this post that you’re reading.  Some of the posts I wrote were not related to writing, but rather journaling about experiences I had on while in nature.  I still plan to share them with you, as my experiences influenced the writing I did on the retreat.

With the exception of a few interesting moments (which you’ll get to read about in upcoming posts) it was a reinvigorating, relaxing experience that I hope to get to repeat in the future.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pam Parker
    Apr 27, 2011 @ 19:06:25

    Sounds wonderful – lucky you! I’m off to a more formal weekend retreat tomorrow. SO looking forward to it.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: A Camping Craving « Butterflies and Dragons

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