Saturday, November 19, 2016

Blessed by Another Writing Retreat

This week, I was privileged with the opportunity to get away for my third writing retreat. For the second year in a row, my husband has encouraged me to slip away for several days to an idyllic retreat center in Northern Indiana (my first one had been to a small cabin in Southern Indiana and it was so small and isolated that I had no Internet connection there - sometimes Internet comes in handy to research something that comes up in the writing).

What a blessing those days turned out to be!

The retreat center is basically a stunning house on Lake Bruce. Last year, I spent more time writing in a location where I could physically look out on the serene scene of the water (for photos of the suite and the desk where I wrote looking out on the water, see last year's retreat post):

This year, I holed up in the Francis Schaeffer Suite and wrote furiously without viewing the water. The first day, I managed to get in 4,610 words, even though I didn't arrive until late afternoon. The second day, I woke at 5:30 and was basically a whirling dervish of words for twelve hours, spilling out another 8,488 words. When I woke on the third day there, I hit a blockage, not knowing where to send the story from that point. So, I did what I always do when I'm stuck ... I took a walk, which included a brief visit to a small prayer chapel on the property:

I thought the words above the prayer chapel and inside were perfect for the piece on spiritual redemption that I am working on: The front of the chapel says "Be still and know that I am God," while the inside bears a verse from Psalm 62:8 - "Trust in him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."

On the wall, I found this telling plaque with more words to spur on my writing about brokenness and redemption:

It reads: "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners." - Isaiah 61:1

How appropriate, since my character is deeply broken and in need of a healing, restorative touch.

I was shocked when on the last day, a new character pushed her way into the scene ... someone I had not anticipated playing a part in the story. That day, I managed 3689 words, which brought me to over 21 thousand words for my retreat and pushed me into the winner's circle for the Nanowrimo effort by making my word count 50,539. Yippee!

To celebrate my productivity, I watched a movie in the spacious movie room in the basement on the last night. The screen covers almost the whole wall ... it was like having my own private theater.

My youngest, Sean, had quite a tough time in my absence and called me every afternoon/evening, begging me to come home early. I am a short way into Part Two of the novel and am guessing that I still have another 30 or 40 thousand words to write, but am thrilled to have made such good progress while I was gone.

No comments: