Tag Archives: writing retreat

Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part VII: The Road Ahead

  • “You’re going to have to learn to ignore a lot of advice, including some of mine.” 
  • You both have to, and can’t, keep your readers in mind as you’re writing.
  • Try writing some non-fiction, in addition to fiction.
  • Set up a place to write where you can close the door and won’t be interrupted
  • Put your writing materials there and books/resources that you use for writing

I’ve been back from the Windbreak House retreat for over a month now, and I thought I would write two, maybe three, posts about it. Instead here I am, wrapping up with Post Number 7.

Continue reading Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part VII: The Road Ahead

Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part VI: Stories

During the second (and last) full day of the retreat, the weather was hotter and drier, and unbroken by thunderstorms at Homestead House. The window, floor, and ceiling fans were a constant source of white noise, as I sat, partially horizontal, on the couch in the living room. I struggled to eat all the food I had bought—a whole bag of salad, a whole tub of blueberries, a whole bag of carrots. My pedometer stayed under 5000 steps.

Continue reading Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part VI: Stories

Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part IV: Advice

My first assignment at the retreat was to write down chronologically what happens, from beginning to end, in my novel. Not surprisingly, I struggled with this. I did have quite a few things worked out: a timeline for when each of the characters were born, for example, and some significant events like Hurricane Noel in 2057, and the Great Flood of Manhattan that breached the protective sea wall in 2042, the return of Halley’s Comet in 2061-2. These events were necessary to get my characters away from the rising seas to Western NY, where they live during the novel. Continue reading Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part IV: Advice

Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part III: Storm

Thunderstorms in South Dakota are impressive. You can see entire storms in the distance, hanging down from clouds. And after dark the thunder and lightning put on a 360-degree show. Linda had a weather radio in Homestead House, the house where retreaters stayed and wrote. This radio would go off periodically with warnings about thunder and hail storms. Linda told me how to turn it off if I was trying to sleep, but I ended up leaving it on because the announcements only came while I was awake, and I thought they were interesting. Continue reading Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part III: Storm

Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part II: Nostalgia

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 6.00.45 PMMy German husband has been to all 50 United States, and he’s found a geocache in every one. Although I’ve travelled quite a bit too, mostly with him but also with the family I grew up in, this trip was my first time in South Dakota. I got on one big plane at SFO airport, and then transferred to a small one in Denver, heading to Rapid City. There I rented a car and drove about a half hour south to the ranch where the retreat took place, just south of the small town of Hermosa. The normal schedule for these retreats is a half day, followed by two full days, followed by another half day. My flight schedule worked out that I got in late the night before the first half day, and rather than stay in a hotel in Rapid City, I added another night at Windbreak House. With the extra time in SD before the retreat started, I planned to do some sight-seeing and find a few geocaches.

Continue reading Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie, Part II: Nostalgia

Read, Revise, Relax: Six Steps to a Successful Retreat at Windbreak House

Last December, for my birthday, my wonderful parents gifted me a Windbreak House writing retreat. They had met the author and teacher, Linda Hasselstrom, at a Road Scholar event when they were traveling to South Dakota. They enjoyed her presentation and her books, and sent me her collection of essays, no place like home, Notes from a Western Life.

I was unable to get away on my birthday itself, which is December 4, right at the end of youth soccer season, between Thanksgiving, NaNoWriMo, and Christmas. But now, the middle of summer while orchestras are on hiatus and the kids are still at German Camp, I am going on a writing retreat! My husband and the cat will get to know each other better for a few days.

Linda has a blog about preparing for the retreat.

“While you are on retreat, write. Write until your fingers cramp and your eyes cross. This may be the best uninterrupted writing time you have ever had, so let your thoughts flow freely. Don’t hesitate. If you are unsure that what you are writing is worthwhile, follow the sage advice of poet William Stafford: “Lower your standards and keep writing.””

I’m getting ready 🙂

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“Little Writing Retreat on the Prairie” – The Set
–A series of blogs describing my experiences at Windbreak House, a women’s writing retreat in South Dakota run by Linda Hasselstrom

Notes from a Western Life

You’ve revised and ripped up drafts and read writing books and joined a writing group and sent out poems and received rejections and started a novel and thought about quitting this writing business and remembered how your high school English teacher said you were talented and read books on how to publish and watched interviews with successful writers who nod and look solemn while they give advice.

Good Retreat adYou’ve gone online to look at the websites of writing retreats from Maine to Malibu, from Switzerland to Saskatchewan, fantasizing about having a massage after a hard writing session, then relishing a catered lunch, followed by a nap, a glass of wine, and a stimulating discussion with other writers.

Now you’ve decided: what you really need is a writing retreat at Windbreak House. You looked over the website and Facebook page, you’ve sent in your application and yes! You’ve been accepted.

I…

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