Blog No. 380
The retreat is over, I’m back home, and I’m pretty tired. I’m always pretty tired, though. (Yay, adulthood). I was feeling a little nervous about making use of the time at the retreat and for other reasons, but now that it’s over I’d have to say it went okay. It wasn’t amazing, but I think my ideal target for amazing would be unrealistic (especially for where I am right now in my current projects and as a writer). To be clear, there were absolutely no problems with the other people (which makes me worried that I could have been a problem for them).
Christian and I have spent enough time together both in close quarters and writing at the same table. Chances that we’ll have issues now are slim. I’ve also spent some time working with Elly over the last year or so. I didn’t think there would be much conflict in the (somewhat) confined space of a house, and there wasn’t. The new person, a friend of Elly’s from Toronto, was equally affable and focused on her work.
Conversations were friendly and often productive (shop talk type stuff) and even when people took a break to do other things, the disruptions were at a minimum. All good stuff. We got along as a group and were able to do the surprisingly difficult task of sitting at a table for hours (and hours) writing. All that means that any problems I had are my own. I have no one to blame for any lack of productivity but myself. Thankfully, I was able to do enough to not hate myself completely.
I went in thinking that if I were able to get at least 6000 words written, I would feel like the retreat was a success. That’s not a huge amount, but it’s not nothing either. Since Fridays are partially taken up by travel time, shopping for supplies, and other generic setting up, there is really only a third of a day (or less) left for writing. Saturday is the big enchilada. Assuming you can manage to get up at a reasonable time, you have the whole day to work at your leisure. We planned for a Saturday dinner at a local burger place, but seeing as you have to take a break to eat at some time anyway, the little bit of extra time to go out isn’t a big issue. It can actually be helpful to get a change of scenery and some fresh air for when you get home and get back to work.
Sundays have traditionally been a challenge. With early checkout times, packing, cleaning, and traveling home, there isn’t a lot of time to write. If you go in expecting to use Sunday to reach your word count goal, you’ll be disappointed. This time, there was no time at all. I was hoping to add an extra thousand words, but by the time I ate and cleaned, it was time to pack and get going. There was a little talk about looking into adding a day next year, but it’s tough to plan so far ahead without know what next year could bring.
I had gone into the weekend hoping to pick up the novel that I put on hold in September to write the novella. I also hoped to go over some beta reads for the novella (since I am running out of time at a scary rate). I also had a short story in my back pocket as something to work on in case the novel crumbled in my hands like an overdone cookie. Amazingly, all those 6000 words were on the novel. I don’t know if they are any good, but I’m trying to remember that I can’t make a book any good until I have something to fix (let the first draft just flow out of me like the garbage that it is and try to clean up the mess later).
I did go over the review my brother did for me on Broadcast Wasteland, but that’s all I managed. I would have loved to get another of the reviews done and maybe even finish that short story, but at the end of the day, I did what I did and now my job is to use that momentum to finish Broadcast and keep the novel going, finishing it when the new novella is out. Overall, it was a good weekend. I had fun and got some work done. Next up is the Oshawa Comic Con in a couple weeks. I’ll be desperately working on getting Broadcast finished between now and then.