Monday, August 4, 2014

Freedom to Write

It's been over a year since I left my job as a school librarian to stay home with the kids and to write. Perhaps no one is surprised that I expected there to be a lot more writing time, and a lot less bribing my son with PBS Kids (I've seriously considered dedicating my next book to Chris and Martin Kratt).

With a few big projects coming up, I knew I needed to find a time and a place to get some real writing done. And I knew that this wasn't going to happen with my wonderful, wonderful children tugging on my chair. So, I started looking into residencies. Most of them require a two week minimum stay, which just didn't seem feasible given those small children. I thought about renting a cottage or even a hotel room somewhere, but that seemed rather lonely. When I was younger, I took a solo road trip from New Hampshire down to Georgia and back up. Then, being alone was heavenly. Now, I don't think I could manage it.

Then someone (I believe it was Harold Underdown) tweeted about the Highlights Foundation offering Un-Conferences. I was familiar with the wonderful workshops offered by Highlights, but hadn't considered them because what I need is wide expanses of time (and maybe a little yoga). But the Un-Conference -- that sounded perfect. Here's what they said on their website:
All writers and artists need to give themselves time. Time to think. Time to imagine. Time to create.
All writers and artists need room. Room in their lives in which to create.
We have comfortable cabins. Nice walking and jogging trails. We even have yoga some mornings.
Yes, yes, and yes! Even better, you can stay as long as you want, and they feed you what I hear is delicious food in a big old barn.

So, I'm signed up to go. This time next week I will be in my cabin, typing away on my latest manuscript. I can't wait.

I'd love to hear about other residencies or retreats that people have done. Where'd you go? What worked for you? Did anything surprise you about the experience?


  1. I've not done a residency, though hearing you and Sheila talk about it makes me want to. I have done a number of retreats with other writers --3 nights or so. That seems to fit into my current lifestyle. Excited to hear how it goes for you at Highlights!

  2. This sounds wonderful. I'm definitely going to check it out! Thanks Megan.

  3. I will let you know how it goes, but I've only ever heard good things.

  4. Megan, I can't wait to hear about it! My best retreat for writing comes in the middle of the night or the early morning hours before my kids and my dog are awake. I recommend it for anyone who needs to find time to write.

  5. Oh my gosh, this sounds Heavenly! Yes, let us know how it goes!

  6. I loved my time at Highlights. I know you will, too. I'm just waiting for the time and money to go back.

  7. I have one writer friend who invites half a dozen other writers to her house for a weekend writing retreat several times a year. I write tons when I'm there, talk tons, too, and it's free and ten miles away!