Smokey Writers – Day 2

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I’m posting a bit late (like, a day late), but I wanted to give a quick report on how the retreat is going. Yesterday was the first full day of writing, and I am very happy with my progress. I decided last week that my daily goal would be 5,000 words, a level of output I’d never achieved before. By the time I stopped yesterday, I had written 5,034 words.

As a personal incentive, I promised myself that when I hit certain milestones, I’d take a guitar break. So, in the morning, when I hit the 1,000 word mark, I went up to my room, closed the door and played three songs (quietly so as to not disturb people who were working.) After lunch, I did the same thing when I got to 4,000 words. It’s a nice little reward system as well as a good way to re-focus, so I’m going to do it again today.

All of the writers here are serious. In the morning, we finish breakfast and within minutes the place is as quiet as a college library. People are scattered around the house, working where they feel most comfortable. I set up camp in the living room, but today the temperatures are supposed to reach the 60’s, so I may sit for awhile on the balcony outside my room, overlooking the mountains.

At 6:00 last night, we all broke into groups of five and read some of what we’d written during the day. Everyone got 10 minutes to read (it was timed), and the only rules are 1) it had to be content produced that day, and 2) no critiquing. My group had a nice variety of subject matter and styles. There is a lot of creative candle power in this house, believe me.

Last night, in addition to another fabulous dinner, we got a preview of a talk that Stephen Granade is giving in Atlanta later this week (it will be terrific), and Bryan Lincoln previewed the first episode of his new audio drama (also terrific). Bryan’s girlfriend Cathy (I hope I spelled that correctly) made personalized gifts for all of us – neckties for the men, journals for the women. Mine has books on it. I also snuck in a half-hour walk before reading time. I brought running clothes, but guess what? I’m in the mountains. The hills are steep. Walking was a workout in its own right.

At night, everyone did their own thing. I played guitar for hours, as I found people willing to indulge my show-off tendencies. All in all, it was a great day and a great start. Look for a report on Day 2 later today or tomorrow morning.

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