Coming out of Hibernation

18 03 2016

polar bear

What did you do on the long winter weekends? Besides hibernating to meet deadlines, I’ve also been spending time on writers’ retreats.

The first one occurred during the worst week of winter. I was anticipating a lovely warm cruise to Mexico when the car got stuck in the ice in the driveway, and airports all over the east coast shut down. I worried I might not make it to Florida before the cruise ship left. My own cancelled and delayed flights left me wondering if I’d make it. I arrived about six hours later than I’d planned, but in time to spend a night in a lovely FL hotel.

FL hotel

But delays weren’t the only thing I needed to worry about. Nothing like trying to board a ship with an expired passport. My new passport was safely locked up at home hundreds of miles away. After hours of frustration, we managed to get a copy of my birth certificate faxed a short while before the ship left port.
ship

So we were off to the Caymans and Cozumel with a group of authors, editors and agents aboard the Brilliance of the Seas. Some great pics of the fun and “work” we did can be found at the Seymour Agency website (scroll to bottom of page). Oh, wait, are most of those pictures of us eating? Believe me, we really did work, attend sessions, and pitch books. I returned with several editor requests for manuscripts and two more agents at the Seymour agency who will rep my work, so it was time well spent.

We did find time for fun and touring. I spent a day swimming with sea turtles and seeing babies to adults, touring small towns, and visiting Chichen Itza. My lovely editor gave me an additional week to finish my manuscript so I could enjoy the sightseeing and socializing.

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I returned home to warmer weather than when I left, but holed up in the house to finish that manuscript. Thanks to some wonderful critique partners, who edited while I wrote, I made the deadline.

After all that writing, I needed another break. So it was off to the North Carolina beach with a different group of authors. The weather was nice enough on Topsail Island for walks along the shore, picking up shells and sea glass, and sitting on my bedroom balcony to write and enjoy the view. Lots of craft sessions and fellowship filled the time between writing and meals. Hmm…are we eating again?

Topsail

The following weekend I headed to the lovely Mimslyn Inn in Luray, Virginia. Again, lots of great food and company, but time to work too. We created journals with pictures and notes about our book’s setting and details. As I researched, I stumbled across a valuable resource for my historical novel. I’m looking forward to delving into it further. I left the retreat refreshed and eager to get back to writing.
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I have some more hibernating to do before I attend one more retreat in April — this time an illustrators’ retreat. And then in May and June, I come out of my cave completely to attend a whirlwind of events for my book launch. So the next few weeks will be a mix of writing and planning.

As writers we often need to hibernate to get work done, but we should also plan to come out of our caves from time to time. And even if you’re not a writer, do you hunker down in winter and spend a lot time indoors? What do you do after an extended period of hibernation? Do you socialize or prefer quieter activities? And if you’re a writer, what are you favorite writers’ retreats?

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4 responses

22 03 2016
S.K. Lamont

Wow Laurie! I’m super jealous of your version of hibernating! My winter has been filled with furiously editing away whilst trying to juggle five kids that I homeschool. I’ve barely stepped out of the door, my MS is off to my editor this week, and I may get a chance to step outside and enjoy spring a little. Oh, to be able to go off to some writing retreat and hang out with big people. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring! I think I’m going to have to rethink my writer hibernation plans!

22 03 2016
lje1

Thanks, S.K. One good thing about juggling five kids and homeschooling is that you train yourself to squeeze writing/editing into even the smallest moments. (I did it with my five too.) And when they get older, everyone will wonder how you manage to accomplish so much, but you’ve already learned be super-productive. Hope you can also squeeze in some hibernation times too.

13 10 2016
Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Your passport story is heartstopping! Glad it worked out. My favorite writing retreat is with Carolyn Yoder, my editor at Highlights Foundation. I feel fall finally happening in NC and yes, that definitely helps me to hunker down, drink hot tea and coffee, and write more.

13 10 2016
lje1

I love the Highlights retreats too, Joyce. They’re so inspiring, and the food is delicious. Fall is a great time to write. Looking forward to seeing what you write next.

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