by Jessa Slade on March 15th, 2010

Currently working on: Done!
Mood: Done!

Did I mention I’m done with Book 3?  It was due today (hence my late posting) and it’s off my brilliantly insightful and lovely editor and agent.  Glory be!

“The End” are the most satisfying two words in novel writing, I think.  Followed closely by “The Call” and “The check is on its way” (which I know is more than two words, but is awesome nonetheless).

I had a rare opportunity with this book that might possibly change the way I write.  A writing friend invited me and another writer to share a condo on Mt. Hood for a weekend of intensive word production since we were all on deadline.

I’ve done brainstorming retreats with writer friends for years.  A bunch of us get together, rent a room on the beach (we swear the negative ions from the sea water waves keep us sane), and plot books.  It’s fabulous fun and borderline brain damage by the end of the weekend.  I’ve also attended many writers’ conferences which are wonderful chances to network and learn.

But I’ve never gone away to just write before.  Here’s where we were:


(Collins Lake Resort, Government Camp)

And ooh I liked it!

Yeah, perhaps it was stupid to wonder whether I’d like it.  But I was worried about not being surrounded with my stuff — my favorite craft books, my refrigerator full of snacks, my dog, my XY with his endless capacity for staring at me blankly while I rant about faulty worldbuilding, recalcitrant characters and dead-end plot points.  Turns out, the looming mountain (not pictured) in the background was perfect for the looming deadline.

Not that I had the chance to really appreciate Mt. Hood in all its slumbering-volcano beauty.  Because I spent three days looking at this:


(Book 3, Chapter 1)

Which, considering the deadline, had a sort of threatening-volcano fascination of its own.

Turns out, all I really needed for a pure writing getaway were these:

  • My computer with WIP (work in progress)
  • My 19″ monitor (the smaller keyboard of my netbook was fine, but the 10″ monitor wasn’t as nice for revising; it would’ve been okay for hot drafting)
  • Lots of water (peeing is an excuse to get up and stretch, thus staving off leg blood clots)
  • Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, it was water plus some wine and coffee
  • Snackage — And now a word from our sponsors… Book 3 is brought to you by: Whoppers ™ Robins Eggs candies, York Peppermint Patties™, and Froot Loops™ (Sorry, I’m a brand-name snacker)
  • Comfy pajamas and thick socks

Real food is unnecessary.  Real clothes are unnecessary.  Heck, a shower kit is unnecessary because we’re writing.  (Plus, I count the hot tub as ritual purification.)

Three writers.  Three computers.  Three stories.  One amazing weekend that has refreshed me for the next looming deadline (Book 4 proposal, due in April — zoiks!).

Much thanks to Kristina McMorris (LETTERS FROM HOME) and Elisabeth Naughton (the STOLEN trilogy and the “Eternal Guardians” series) for the long stretches of eerie silence interspersed with book talk, a.k.a. writer heaven.

Do you have a favorite getaway place?  Do you have a way to recreate that closer to home for every-day moments?

8 comments to “Done!”

  1. 1

    Clearly you’ve just described my own new favorite retreat. Woo-hoo! Congrats again, girl. And my kidlings thank you for the leftover Fruit Loops.

  2. 2

    My favorite getaway place is hanging out at the Disney parks – best when they’re not crowded, like on a rainy day. Your getaway place sounds like it was awesome, hope you got to go outside just a little bit and play in the snow.

  3. 3

    Mmmmhmm…3 days of writing and Fruit Loops…okay, Cap’n Crunch for me, but still. Sign me up fot the next one!


  4. 4

    [...] March 16, 2010 — sharonashwood One of my fellow Silk and Shadows bloggers, Jessa Slade, just posted about getting away on a writer’s retreat to churn out the pages. It sounds like a lovely thing to [...]

  5. 5

    I’m sooooo happy to hear that you are DONE, DONE, DONE. How long before WE get to SEE it? Valerie

  6. 6

    Barbara, my XY and I did Disney as soon as it opened on New Years Day morning. Nobody there but us. The “Small Word” ride has never been creepier :)

  7. 7

    Congrats on finishing, Jessa!

    Your retreat sounds like it was awesome. I’m so jealous. :-) Waving hi to Kristina!

  8. 8

    Sounds like HEAVEN! Sigh! (Me so jealous, but in a nice way!)