Friday, November 5, 2010


by Susan

If you are a follower of What Women Write, you know that today is the day that we leave our normal lives and take off on our four-day retreat. We're talking food. A lake house. No children or spouses. And most importantly, time to write.

We prepare for this. I'm baking pies and thinking about packing. (I'll pack in the morning, and will probably bring more stuff for four days at the lake than I would for two weeks in Africa.) We prepare the schedule for our free time--we're talking about fishing, kayaking, yoga and jogging. We are preparing to read our sex scenes (gasp!)--a fun little sidebar to our retreat that we started last year. And we are preparing to write.

Kim publicly proclaimed her research and preparation for the weekend on Facebook; she's done her due diligence and is loaded for the next four days. In a flash of admiration for her readiness, I sat down tonight (instead of packing) and did the same. But where is the line between preparing to write and actually writing? One cannot work without the other. I'm ready to sit down and just write.

For years, I've researched the history that I will incorporate into my manuscript. I've matched scenes to actual events. I've pulled characters from real life and asked them to play bit parts in my drama. I've chosen 1968 as a setting for a crucial part of my manuscript, and have pulled the assassinations of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy into my storyline. Yet the research, I must remind myself, isn't the writing.

The writing is the writing.

And so, for this weekend, my goal is to write. Not to research or develop plot around historical events. Not to kayak (even though I love to kayak) and not to bake pies. My preparation is done, I have some words to put on paper and there is no better place to do so than a lake house with a bunch of my best writing friends who are ready and willing to write beside me.

So do your prep. Research your timeline and your topic. But when it is time to write, all you need to do is just that.

Sit down.

Open your heart.

And write.


  1. Hello girls!
    I love your blog and I've read almost every day. You are now part of my life!
    I think you are very lucky to attend this weekend retreat!
    Good weekend!!!
    PS: I am from Quebec, this explains my English a bit odd.;-)

  2. Wow, so cool! Have a great time. What I wouldn't do for an escape like that.

  3. Thanks, guys! We have all arrived safe and sound. Writing retreats are worth the trip... I encourage you to take the time for one when you can!


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