Friday, November 20, 2015

A Wonderful Writer's Retreat

My husband scheduled workmen to come into the house to repaint our dining room and kitchen and replace some doors and trim in that area. This is right where I normally sit to write (although I have recently taken to working in Bryce's room because it is more isolated and I think better). Thankfully, my husband encouraged me to find a retreat center where I could go for a writing retreat. I thought about going to the place I visited several years ago, but remembered that they have no wifi or phone service in that remote location (and I often feel a need to look something up to support something I'm writing at the moment, like I found a wonderful list of names meaning wolf to use for the counselor and test administrator in my novel). Thus, I sought out a different place and happened upon this wonderful retreat center on Lake Bruce in upper Indiana.

Run by a family of wonderful Christians, the center is used for prayer retreats, marriage retreats, group retreats, and individual retreats. You have to place a request and be approved and I was thrilled to learn that my request was granted. There was another group of nine college students there (for less than twenty four hours of my stay) when I arrived, but they were quiet and remained in their side of the house. I was placed in the Francis Schaeffer suite, complete with two bedrooms with queen beds, a sitting room, and a kitchenette.

(these first three photos were taken from the retreat center website at Mahseh Ministries, where there are loads of photos that fully reflect the beauty of the house and grounds - I'm not capable of providing such quality photography, nor did I have access to a boat to take the lovely shot from the water - ha)

I had a lovely view from my balcony:

Once I had the house to myself, I tended to work at a desk in the hallway with four windows overlooking the lake (again, the photo is mine, so the quality is meager):
There was a tremendous library in the basement (along with access to a DVD player and television equipment, but I left those alone, choosing to focus entirely on my writing and on some supportive reading - these are again photos from the website):

There was a beautiful view of the water from the basement (my photos):

I brought simple foods to prepare so that I wouldn't need to leave the retreat center at all and could focus entirely on my writing. Alas, upon arrival, I realized that I had forgotten the cord to my laptop at home. Thus, I had to take a trip over to Rochester, Indiana, to visit a Walmart and pick up a universal laptop cord (not cheap - expensive mistake).

But, I was indeed able to focus on my writing for the most part and managed to spit out another 21,769 words during the time I was there from Monday afternoon through Thursday morning. This brought me up and over the Nanowrimo goal of 50 thousand words, but much of the novel still needs to be completed. I was feeling stuck when I left, because the main character needs to do something bold and sacrificial and I had no vision for what that was, but a walk at the track this morning has given me a bit of an idea (although I don't know that it is sufficient or what I'm really looking for).

All in all, it was a very productive yet relaxing time. The owners were very gracious and even invited me for dinner one night (I declined, preferring to hole up in my suite writing away). I'm so grateful this opportunity came together for me. It was a God thing, to be sure!

1 comment:

Darcy said...

What a find! Definitely keeping this in mind for my own writing or solitude retreats. And congratulations on getting past 50K words for nanowrimo!