Writer’s Retreat: What Was It Like?

SCBWI Working Writer’s Retreat, September, 2017

The “working” aspect in Working Writer’s Retreat (for me)=the retreat provided printers, so there was no excuse (for me) for not sprinting to my sparse (sweetly existential) weekend bedroom after a workshop, whipping open my laptop and revising my work based on inspiration or comments from said workshops, comments so helpful, I retreatcould have cried into my savory tofu-in-mushroom-sauce dinner (I ticked the vegetarian option), or any meal served in the hall with a view of spreading oaks backed by tranquil sky. Felt transported from Los Angeles into a Buddha’s serene blink.

Workshops were scheduled so that when your roommate was in a workshop, you had the room to yourself to feverishly revise, if you wished. Brilliant.

Each of my workshops featured the same 4 writers (5, with me) presided over by a different agent or editor. So the same 4 writers heard, from me, my same first chapter revised throughout the weekend. This worried me: I didn’t want to keep presenting the same effing thing–but I reminded myself that the ‘same effing thing’ is key to my whole effing manuscript. And I had eagle-eyed critiquers. So–I took advantage of their eyes. Thanks, my group, eagles. Thank you, so much.


Mittens, ready to pounce

Retreat? Yes, but–we were so noisy, us introverted writers, we were asked by Holy Spirit admin to keep it down, as in addition to our retreat, a Silent Retreat was also taking place at The Center.

But Saturday night’s karaoke fest was far too much fun to remember warnings. Only later (shuffling wearily to our rooms), hearing a nearby Encino neighborhood’s rage (uber-peppy DJ w/uber-amplifiers) did we proffer: Oh dear, the silent retreaters must be challenged. And that night I slept as though encased in fathoms. No breakfasts to prepare, no child to ferry to school, no dogs to shoo from licking my hand at 3.a.m.–I was OUT.



Shadow experiencing a ribbon

This was my favorite SCBWI event to date. Retreaters were open to sharing–from critique to favorite authors and kid lit info to pix of pets and kids. Conversations with my roommate were both professional and family-related (I luff her!). I returned home to my husband, son and 2 new family additions–kittens–feeling creatively inspired. A few weeks later, still feeling it. Although fairly sleepless due to kittens. Silent retreaters! Your revenge is complete. Insert smiling face here…

Anticipating next February’s SCBWI Skirball event.

Yours in productivity, creativity and, of course, kittens, PB

About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI. pbwrites.wordpress.com
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Words do not escape you

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