Antioch Writers’ Workshop Fall Retreat

Last weekend I attended the Antioch Writers’ Workshop Annual Fall Retreat. I’ve been having a lot of trouble switching gears from Somewhere Only We Know and getting started on my new project, so I wanted to attend this retreat to get the push and confidence I needed to go forward. I also wanted to go to this retreat because I’ve felt very alone in my writing journey since I graduated from Wright State. I wanted to find that sense of community that I was missing.

My room at the retreat

After three days at a beautiful retreat center, I have definitely found all that I was looking for. The retreat was led by Cyndi Pauwels from Antioch Writers’ Workshop and local authors Katrina Kittle and Erin Flanagan. Erin had been my teacher at Wright State so I was so happy to get this chance to work with her again. And it was so nice to get to know Katrina and Cyndi and work with Katrina on my manuscript.

There were fifteen writers accepted to participate on this retreat, and it was so interesting to talk with people at all stages of the writing journey, from those just starting out to those who have already published or self-published. All of us wanted to come together to talk about our writing and get some work done away from all of the responsibilities at home. And all of us were so supportive of one another and willing to listen and give advice and help any way we could.

I especially enjoyed getting to talk to Katrina about my manuscript. I only have fifteen pages of this new book completed, and she read them and said she really enjoyed them. She also gave me some helpful tips going forward with my writing. Talking with her gave me the confidence boost I needed and assured me that I was on the right track with this new book. I spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the beautiful grounds of the retreat center and finishing my outline for this book. Now that my outline is completed I can get back to work at home and actually start writing this thing.

I think all of us walked away from this retreat feeling completely refreshed. This retreat was an opportunity for us all to write a lot and create our own community of writers. Already we’ve all been emailing each other and saying what a great experience this was. I would love to participate in something like this in the future, and I would definitely recommend this particular retreat for anyone looking for a little help in their writing and a chance to get away.

I met some wonderful people at the retreat!

Make-Your-Own Writer’s Retreat

What do you do when your husband has to go on a business trip to Chicago? Make your own writer’s retreat, of course!

My husband is an engineer, and he had to go to Chicago last week to oversee some testing of his company’s products. So I decided to tag along on his trip. Lately I’ve been feeling pretty stressed with trying to get my book ready for publication and with trying to get going on my new project. I’m so close to being done with my first book, and I’m really excited about my new idea, but I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting myself to work every day when I’m stuck at home. I thought that this trip would be good for me to get away for a few days and try working in a new environment.

I am so glad I was able to go with my husband on this trip, because it was such a good experience for me. We spent three nights and two days in Chicago. I was born there, so it was fun being back. And of course I had to introduce my husband to the wonders of Portillo’s and Giordano’s. Our hotel was beautiful and was the perfect environment to get some work done.

Just getting out of the house for a couple days did wonders for my work ethic. I got so much proofreading done on my manuscript and made a big breakthrough on my new project. This trip really cleared my head and made it easier for me to get work done.

On the last day, we left Chicago super early to go to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my husband to finish the last of his testing on a machine they had there. And wow, what a beautiful campus it was. In the morning I got coffee with my uncle who lives there and whom I haven’t seen since my wedding a year ago. And then I spent the rest of the day exploring campus and reading my book in a couple of the libraries and the union. My husband joined me when he was finished, and we walked around more.

We’ve talked before about maybe moving out-of-state for a couple years for him to go to graduate school. I had been turned off to the idea of doing an MFA in the past because my only options in Ohio are Ohio State and Bowling Green (aka the schools my siblings go to and not my style). But after experiencing this beautiful campus, both my husband and I are considering it as an option for grad school in the future.

It was a lot of hours in the car, but this trip was a lot of fun and helped me finish my first book and get going on my second. I am so glad I went!