Monday, February 25, 2008

What a weekend!

Eleven women descended upon the quiet town of Pacific City over the weekend. We had a fantabulous beach house, gorgeous weather, and delicious food. Thank you SO MUCH Eli for putting it all together and spending so much time figuring everything out :)

I love weekends like that. Out of the retreats I've been on with the chapter, this was definitely my most productive. I had come up with an idea just based off of a title a year or two ago. Then some chapter members helped me brainstorm it back in September. I wrote about 50 pages, then stopped. Lost the juice, sidetracked with life, homework. You know the drill.

That's my M.O. I opened up the other two books I've started before and noticed I stopped just around page 50. Well, I wasn't about to let that happen again. I wrote more than 50 pages this weekend and broke the 100 page mark. I also did some plotting on the rest of the book and feel pretty darn confident that I'll actually finish a first draft.

I'm making no promises on revising this beast. Woah boy does it need revising.

I know that I wouldn't have made it to this point without the retreat. Alice, who always gives the best advice and knows just what to say, helped me understand why it was happening. She said that getting away from my natural environment and all the homework I had (we'll just pretend I didn't lug a 40-pound suitcase of books and articles with me for homework) that I had in effect given myself permission to think about my book.

She was completely right. When I'm at home, I feel like I have to spend my time doing something with my job or homework because those have external deadlines and immediate benefits or consequences. With writing, it's all up to me.

The craziest thing of all about this weekend - I didn't take a single nap! I tried once, but it didn't work. I take long and frequent naps on writing retreats. I'm so relaxed there. But this time there was too much going on in my mind about the story I'm working on.

I know I'm not the only one who got a lot done. By Saturday afternoon many people had written more than 20 pages!

For those of you who went, tell us about your take on the weekend. Did you get a lot done? If you weren't able to make it to the retreat, is there an experience you've had where you were completely rejuvenated in your writing?


Alice Sharpe said...

Lisa, it was a wonderful retreat. I went on the spur of the moment, kind of worried about this deadline business, but got more done there that I think I would have at home. Everyone's enthusiasm was contagious!

I've been to a lot of conferences and at this point attend for networking and not workshops and I think I can say unequivocally that this retreat was more rejuvenating than some big whirlwind of noise, crashing egos and stress, delightful roommates aside.

It wasn't only the actual page count but the impromptu discussions on writing, etc. that made it so good. And friendship, of course.

It was such fun! Thank you Eli.

Paty Jager said...

Lisa- kudos on the pages and plotting! I loved the colored sticky notes you had on your plot board!

It was a VERY enjoyable retreat! I read through 190 pages on the revisions I'm working on. I had some great writing conversations and the brainstorming on Sat. afternoon helped me with a niggling I had. (I thought I had too much in common for the heroine and sister, but I needed someone else to push me in the right direction) Because I was stuck on the music being the thing that initially brought the h/h together.

The weather! Man, we couldn't have asked for better weather! I loved it! That is how the coast should be all the time. LOL

The company was awesome! I don't think I've laughed so much or been so enlightened.

Thanks Eli for getting it all arranged an everyone who went for making it a great expereience!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

50 pgs?! OMG, Lisa. You are amazing. I'm so glad the weekend was productive for you!

I think I got about 26 pgs in. But I also took a really long walk Saturday, hiked to the top of the sand dune, soaked in the beautiful weather and that incredible view and thought long and hard about my book. I agree, sunny and warm is the way the OR coast weather should always be!

I'm at that point in the wip where everything sounds like drivel, where I'm sure this book is more than I can handle and where I'm questioning my sanity at choosing this project (it's a stage I always go through...I'll get past it if I just keep working). So for me, the weekend was inspiring because it helped me push through and keep going. Seeing so many people being so productive was definitely a motivator. And the laughter and industry chat is always re-inspiring. So thanks to everyone who went for making it such a fun time. I'm looking forward to the next one!

Kendra said...

What a wonderful weekend. It was great to meet everyone and thanks so much for warmly welcoming me! It was lovely to get to know all of you.

I got lots done and more importantly came home motivated on a project that had stalled. I wish the weekend could've been longer.

Lisa. Amazing page count! You were a writing machine. Elisabeth-thank you for inviting me and putting together the retreat.

I found my watch this morning. It'd gotten caught inside my three ring binder. If I hadn't been motivated to do more writing, I might not have found it for weeks!

wavybrains said...

Both of the previous retreats that I attended were amazingly positive experiences for me.

I was so sad to miss this one, but DH bowed at my feet all weekend for not sticking him with the tiny dictator and her yell-yell-yell method of coping with life's indignities.

I'm so glad you all had a productive weekend! The pictures looked like fun! Perhaps by the next one, Daddy will be more ready for solo Tavy duty . . .

Rhonda said...

Thank you everyone for always making me feel welcome even though I am not a writer. I have enjoyed going to that last 2 retreats as Dalton's nanny, and this time just for myself.

I am amazed each and every time I hear you talk about how your books come about and I really enjoyed listening to your brainstorming session.

Thanks again for letting a nonwriting tag along from time to time.


Barbara said...

Thanks, Eli, for arranging this wonderful retreat and for driving many of us there and back. I'm so happy you really got into your writing again, Lisa. I was worried that all the writing you were doing was on your term papers.

I don't think I'll ever feel totally comfortable at these retreats until I'm regularly writing something that has some possibility, however remote, of being published some day. After all, that's what I'm in this group for, isn't it? And it is so inspring to see all of you writing and getting published and talking about your agents and editors.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the lovely weather and wonderful company and did write a couple of small pieces that required care and reflection while I was there, and that is something I thought I'd never be able to do with other people around. Well, writers are not just "other people." At times there were long silences filled with the excitement and sweat of creation. I loved it.

Thank you, Eli, for writing this:
"I'm at that point in the wip where everything sounds like drivel, where I'm sure this book is more than I can handle and where I'm questioning my sanity at choosing this project (it's a stage I always go through...I'll get past it if I just keep working)." It's good to know I'm not the only person who feels that way about their own wip, and to know that your experience has taught you that if you just keep working you will get past it. Thanks.

Karen Duvall said...

It was great fun, as always. 8^) I'm neck deep in work now, but that's fine. The trip was worth it!

Wow, Lisa, you're a stud. I'm impressed. I'm lucky to get 50 pages in a week, much less two days. But I did get through about 100 pages of revisions.

I love the industry talk. I always enjoy chatting about publishers and agents, and where everyone is in the marketing of their manuscripts.

And the brainstorming was majorly fun, too! (majorly is a technical writer's word, you know) It was a fascinating journey into serial killers, finger eating cannibals, gypsies on a quest for the promised land, and contemporary cowboys. My head is still swimming, and in a good way.

Alice Sharpe said...

Lisa, it finally dawned on me that you said you wrote 50 pages! I am in awe!!!!!!

Way to go. Technically, does that mean you could write a 300 page book in less than a week????


Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for the awesome, inspiring weekend!

This retreat was the most productive retreat I've ever attended and I am so pleased with what I was able to accomplish.

There were times when I'd be typing along and it felt like I couldn't get it out fast enough. I found myself wanting to jump up and down and scream with excitement at the ideas and scenes that were flying through my brain; other times I thought I'd burst into tears because I was so overwhelmed with the fact that my brain really can still produce ideas and words worthy of a story.

Yeah,it's been a long time since I've felt that way. It was an incredible rush! :)

I'm so happy for all of you and your accomplishments this weekend.

Lisa-- 50 pages is FREAKING AMAZING! YOU ROCK!

The brainstorming session was a blast, too.

Rhonda-- It just wouldn't be the same without you. :)

Kendra-- It was great to have you along too! You fit right in with the rest of us crazy chicks! LOL

It was great to be with all of you phenomenal women. I'm so glad to call you my friends!!

To all of you in the chapter who couldn't make it, know that you were missed.

Lisa Pulliam said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! I'm thrilled to see that everyone had such a good time!!! Thanks for the kudos! I can't believe I wrote 50 pages either :) But when I added up all the pages I've written over the past couple of years on an actual manuscript, not plotting or outlining, I barely break 200 lol. So in the scheme of things I'm in complete awe of those of you who steadily pump out pages. It's truly a talent!