I spent last weekend at a campground outside of Racine, Missouri for the semi-annual writers’ retreat that I love to attend. The picturesque, bucolic setting always feeds my writing mojo, and this time was no different. Peace and tranquility is enhanced by a spring-fed pond, rolling hills, and beautiful trees.
I accomplished a great deal of writing, including revising a short story for a competition. It’s a story I wrote last year for an Ozarks Creative Writers Conference contest. While I loved my original story, and it placed first in its category, I relished the opportunity to revise it for this new contest.
You may be wondering why I wanted to change my story at all. The difference is in the word requirements. I was allowed 2000 words for the first contest. The second contest allows me up to 7500 words, which gives me a great deal more room to expand the story and add more description.
I can write short and concise, but I’m much better with longer prose. The larger word count allows me to develop my characters more. I like to take my time and thoroughly describe the setting. When I saw the guidelines for the new contest, I nearly jumped for joy.
The retreat isn’t just a quiet place to write for four days. It’s an event that offers much needed comradery with other writers. Visiting with like-minded people is a balm to my often misunderstood soul. I feel soothed and accepted during the retreat. Consequently, I feel better about myself, and my creativity blooms like a spring rose. I get a lot of writing done, and it’s usually some of my best work.
The only schedule I have to keep is mealtime. I go to bed when I want, get up when I want, and do what I want. If I feel like walking down to the pond and staring into the water, I can do that. If I feel like scrolling through Facebook for hours on end, I can do that, too. This time of year is precious to me and quite liberating. After four days of writerly pursuits, I am refreshed and ready to deal with the real world again.
It’s important to take a little time for myself. It’s like rebooting a computer – everything works better afterward.
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