This afternoon I'll check in for the Northern Colorado Writers' Retreat at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch near Loveland, Colorado. There are only six of us (all female) attending this year, so instead of rooming in the big Wagon Wheel Bunkhouse facility, we'll be sharing two cabins. Each of us has our own room for sleeping and writing, however, so we should be very productive. We'll have some meals in the main lodge and some in our own cabins. Since we have kitchens in each cabin and a common area, we can indulge our coffee and tea habits whenever we wish, make a sandwich or popcorn, and enjoy the social times built into our schedule.
NCW director Kerrie Flanagan created this great organization by starting with a writers' conference, adding the organization with classes and a newsletter, then establishing the writers' studio with classroom space as well as a library and quiet room for writing. Now we have the retreat, she's expanding the blog (The-Writing-Bug) to include guest posts, and there will soon be a subscription newsletter for writers that will include articles from a variety of talented professionals, not just NCW members.
On top of everything else, the NCW studio also hosts the work of local artists. After a reception at the studio, the artist's work is displayed for two months before the next show is announced. At the moment, the wonderful paintings of fifteen-year old Chloe Abbott-Phillips provide inspiration to the writers who work and study in those rooms.
Don't you writers wish you had a Kerrie Flanagan in your town?
But back to the retreat. As I look at the schedule, I see there are twelve definite hours scheduled for quiet writing time. One can skip the Saturday night movie and add two more hours, get up earlier on Saturday and Sunday and add two more, and write late in the evening to increase the total writing time another two to four hours. I could squeeze a good twenty hours of writing time out of this weekend. Doesn't that sound like writer heaven?
My goal is to add at least 15,000 words to my novel this weekend. I'll let you know next week how that worked out.