Monday, August 3, 2009

Retreat!

Hello world. I'm now back from the Oregon Coast Children's Writer's Workshop (OCCWW)-- and I have a number of tips that I learned there to share, and some stories to tell. These details will show up every two weeks, (approximately,) on writermorphosis, for the next few months. After that, I'll be off to the SCBWI Carolina's conference in September, and there will be even more to tell.

But firstly I want to talk about the most important thing I learned at the Oregon Coast Children's Writer's Workshop. It wasn't about markets, or first pages, or brilliant dialogue -- although information on all of those things will come out on writermorphosis soon. No, what stuck with me the most was how much literary work can get done where there is no internet or cell phone service to distract you!

The OCCWW is held in Oceanside Oregon, a tiny town that spills down from evergreen forested hills to the edge of a windy pacific beach. It's a twenty minute drive to the next town to get cell phone service on most plans, and the only place with internet access for visitors is the local coffee shop, where the adoreable sweatshirts suggest "make coffee, not war."

As a converted city-girl I was worried about having no contact with the outside world for a whole five and a half days. But I have been converted to the no-cell-phone life. It was wonderful!

For five and a half days we participated in workshops. In the afternoons and evenings, when not in the workshops, I and the two other writer's I shared a house with, wrote, and discussed plots, and helped each other modify troublesome sentences. I resolved more plot problems in my projects in those five days than I have been able to do back here in the real world over several months!

So I, the girls who is always busy in my home-town, running here and there, have finally learned the beauty of the word RETREAT.

RETREAT: an act or process of withdrawing, especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable; a place of privacy; (or) a period of group withdrawal...for instruction under a director.

Just being away from the distractions and requirements of work, regular household responsibilities, the phone, and the internet, was a wonderful way to give my writing a boost.

I recommend it for anyone, and I hope to do it again, in some form, at least once a year.

For now, I'm vowing to only check my internet once in the morning and once at night on my writing days. There are some distractions that can't get to you unless you go to them. : )

4 comments:

Don Robinson said...

Janelle,

I can understand how not having electronic access to the "outside world" could be beneficial to your concentration of the task at hand.

However, judging by some of the photos you posted, I might just be distracted by the beauty of the landscape.

I anxiously await further details of your "retreat".

Don Robinson

Ian Sands said...

Looks and sounds great. However, in those beautiful woods, I would have been distracted searching for toads among the evergreens :)

C.R. Evers said...

Great pictures! Sounds awesome. I can't wait to hear more about it!

i hope I can go someday!

Anonymous said...

Hello!
Congratulations on making it through so long minus the cell and the internet and good luck on your new resolution. It is amazing how relaxing it can be to not have to always be checking and responging to e-mails, but it sure is nice to keep in touch.

Connie