A Personal Writing Retreat

Working from home definitely has some perks, but it can be stifling to the creative writing process. So, I am extremely fortunate to have been offered a place to stay a few nights to focus on my writing projects. As you know, if you are following my blog, I planned a mini-writing retreat with a friend not too long ago. This retreat will be solo, so I expect it to be a little different. I plan to spend three nights and work two full days on writing, using the Pomodoro method to write and take breaks following timed intervals.

Arrival and Settling In

The day of arrival in a new place never fails to excite my adventurous side. I need to explore what is around me. Otherwise, I will become distractingly curious about my surroundings. I have learned to schedule a little free time to walk around, find some food or drink, and get to know my environment. Elkton, where my retreat is located, is a tiny and beautiful little town. It is a place where people come to camp and be close to nature. It is a tourism way spot. I walked into town and joined the tourist traffic as I purchased a bottle of water and a delicious taco from a small Mexican Food truck. Then I walked down to the river and enjoyed some watery scenery for a while. I concluded my evening by writing out some goals for the week and going to bed early.

First Day Woes

In the morning, I realized that I forgot my coffee pods! My travel-sized, office-ready Nespresso machine sat sad and empty on the bed stand. Coffee really is the most important consumable on a writing retreat, so I had to make some drastic accommodations to fuel my caffeine need. Fortunately, my partner came to my rescue, and all was set right. I got a writing session in before lunch, despite the setback. After a lunch break, I napped a little and read more of the novel I brought to distract my working mind and proceeded to write—two more sessions and then a break. Finally, I walked down to the river and sat on the large rocks, listening to the trickle of the river as it made its way through the cavernous stones. A couple more writing sessions, along with some dinner, ended a productive day.

lower Umpqua River in Elkton, OR. Photo taken by Erica Mongé-Greer.
Lower Umpqua River in Elkton, OR

Hitting the Wall on the Last Day

The next morning, I started the day off with a long walk in which I discovered the Historic Fort Umpqua and learned a little about the history of the Pacific Northwest. I returned to write—three more sessions. I was saturated. I took a break and read for a while, and took another walk to the river. I wrote for another two sessions before I was nearly done. I surpassed my primary objective of the retreat and began working on the next phase of my book. It wasn’t easy to focus toward the end of the day. Eventually, I released my captive mind. I spent the remainder of the evening reading a novel by the river and packing a few of my things. I planned to leave just after coffee and breakfast in the morning.

Historic Fort Umpqua in Elkton, OR

Happy Endings

I slept in as long as I could on my final retreat day. I read my novel while I drank coffee and ate some oatmeal. I reviewed my writing goals before I finished packing and checked out of my room completely. My drive was not too long. I was home before lunchtime. I feel exhausted from such focused work, but I am proud of my accomplishments. I need one more retreat to finish this book. More to come.

I highly recommend the River Inn Lodging in Elkton for a Pacific Northwest getaway. It is small, peaceful, and beautiful. You can easily walk into town or take a short drive to the coast, many lakes, trails, and rivers.

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