When describing the Northern Colorado Writers' retreat at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch and the opportunities it offered, I offered the following possibilities:
1. I would have a maximum of twenty hours of writing/editing/revision time available, provided I skipped the Saturday night movie and didn't wander away from my work space during quiet writing times.
2. Knowing I churned out 13,000 words at last year's retreat, I hoped to add 15,000 words to my current WIP during the weekend.
My actual work time and word count came up short of those goals.
1. I documented my work time and found I'd done actual writing/revising a total of twelve hours and fifteen minutes. I spent an additional two hours reading over my hard copy of earlier chapters to check for inconsistencies and making notes on the pages.
More than two hours of potential working time was used to watch the movie (yes, I watched the whole movie -- Finding Forrester). The rest was used to walk outside, take pictures, work around the kitchen doing dishes or snacking, sleep, or just stare out the window, deep in thought.
2. The total number of words added to my manuscript was 7,101.
That's less than half of what I had hoped for. I am consoled by the fact that my novel took a couple of very interesting twists and turns I did not expect. I spent some of my twelve hours staring at my laptop, deep in thought, wondering what in heck my characters should do next. Whether typing or thinking, it was productive working time, in total silence, no interruptions.
With a renewed interest in my story, I was back to work yesterday, adding the next two scenes. With luck, the retreat was just the push I needed to get this first draft finished. My longer term goal is to have revisions and editing done in time to pitch the novel at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, at the end of March.
The snow began Saturday evening and continued overnight, so we had plenty of photo opportunities as we walked to the lodge dining room for breakfast. Really, would you hide in that corner and write when you could walk through this scenery on your way to a hearty ranch breakfast that someone else fixed for you? I didn't think so.