Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing retreat recap: 38,000 words, 8 farm animals, 1 hot tub.

Guys, we had an amazing weekend retreat in rural Pennsylvania! It boiled down to three things: writing, eating, and hottubbing. Plus some city-girl excitement over farm animals.

Our little house!

In fewer than 48 hours, we managed to be ridiculously productive, relax, and have fun. And eat a LOT of food. (Is there a study on how writing burns calories? Because we ate SO MUCH.)

Hours Spent Writing: 5

Total Words Written: 38,000+

In order to ensure productivity, we set up hour-long "word war" sessions — no talking, no internet, no stopping, just writing. We did this four times on Saturday and once on Sunday before leaving. By the last session, we had each broken—even smashed—our previous record for an hour-long word count.

The important thing was, we set our own goals, since we all write at different speeds. For example, at my most productive, I wrote nearly 1,500 words in an hour. Frankie wrote over 3,000 in the same hour. Sara and Janine are somewhere in between.

We all left with much higher standards for ourselves with what we can accomplish in an hour of writing!

Also, we realized that yummy snacks in between word war sessions are the best reward for a job well done.

Hours Spent in the Hot Tub: 2

Notable Things:
1. Janine finished her novel!
 2. Frankie wrote 15,000 words! 
That's the smile of victory.

Photo Recap!
(In which we visit the animals on Sunday morning.)
Coming over to check out the visitors!
The barn cats came over, too!
So cute!
This goat was my favorite!!!
Janine petting the horse.
Oh, to be a lazy cat.
Me and the coolest goat ever.

The Quotable Retreat
(Because we promised hijinks!)
Frankie: "If the writing is crap, hopefully it's the kind of crap I can work with and not the kind of crap I have to scrap and start over."
Donna, on feeling Sara's baby kick for the first time: "Oh my God! Things should NOT be kicking from inside of a person! That's so creepy!"
Janine, stretching on the floor: "Look at this split, guys! Oh.... I just wrecked myself."
Sara, opening a passionfruit yogurt container: "Ew, gross!"
Frankie: "What?"
Sara: "The yogurt peed on me."
Frankie, laughing, watching a very pregnant Sara walk to the kitchen for a paper towel: "Poor Sara. ... And she waddles away."
Sara and the offending yogurt, post-attack.
Donna, looking out the window: "Hold on, I'm watching a goat take a sh*t."
Sara, watching the horse relaxing in the field: "Isn't it when horses sit down, it means it's going to rain? Or is that cows?"
Frankie: "I just hope it doesn't rain tonight when we're done working."
Sara: "I don't care, I'm going in that hot tub."
Frankie: "Oh yeah. Definitely."
Frankie, glancing out the window at the road: "So does that mean I have a fourth of the novel written? *Gasps* Horse and buggy!"
Janine, on where writing research sometimes leads: "But I did watch Godzilla shooting another Godzilla with lasers from its eyes."
Frankie, petting the farm animals: "Ok, I'm done. When I see goats pooping, I'm done."

The view from the house!

What's your favorite post-writing reward snack? I pick nachos.


  1. Nice writing, guys! Also, that's pretty much the best goat face ever.

    1. That goat face is totally my desktop background right now. He (she?) just makes me giggle!

  2. Heeee, this kind of brought tears to my eyes from laughing so hard--you captured some great quotes. I can't wait to do it again! Janine saying "I wrecked myself" is the best!

    1. My favorite was when you totally got distracted by the horse and buggy mid-revelation.

  3. Sounds very productive and fun. What a great idea.

    1. Thanks! We definitely want to set one up again.

  4. Congrats on a productive retreat. I'm jealous (about the writing/hot tub time...not so much about watching animals poop!)

    1. Yeah, we were deciding between a couple different locations, and the hot tub sold us on this one!


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