A Writer’s Dream

Drifting Dunes

Drifting Dunes Resort in Grand Haven, Michigan is the perfect place to get away and write – or do whatever you set your mind to.

This week’s topic: If, suddenly, after all your years of writing, your “ship” finally came in and your titles were receiving wide acclaim (and sales… and INCOME), what would you like to do with that “positioning” to help aspiring writers?

For most authors, the one thing that is in short supply is time. We have daily responsibilities, and sometimes it’s impossible to focus on our stories when there is a mountain of housework to do. My first book took almost eight years to write, mainly because I let so much get in the way. It wasn’t until I had several days in a row of being on my own for several hours at a time that I was able to put all the words into a cohesive story. I went on vacation with my daughters (hubby, of course, stayed home) and since the girls were old enough to go off on their own, I stayed back at our vacation home and wrote. There was no one around to distract me, and I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted. It was the perfect boost to my writing career.

Later on, after I’d joined a couple of local writing groups, both organizations began to organize writing retreats, set at various locations in the state. The first one I attended was in the historic Gerber House, the former home of the family who started the Gerber baby food brand. Again, being away from my family and the daily obligations brought on by home ownership, I got a lot of words written. And being around other authors made for wonderful brainstorming opportunities, as well as chances to share resources. My most recent writing getaway was one I organized at the home pictured above. It’s the model for what I imagine I’d like to purchase if my own writing were to achieve the level of fame and fortune suggested in the prompt.

IMG_7168

Fellow writers at a retreat at Drifting Dunes in 2018. The clamps on the edge of the tables hold a drink and a small waste basket.

I can’t imagine earning enough money to do anything I want, but the first thing that comes to mind would be to purchase a nice big house by the lake (in my neck of the woods, “the lake” refers to Lake Michigan) where writers can get away. I suppose it could be used for small workshops with speakers and such, but I’m more interested in providing a nice, peaceful place, away from jobs, children, and even spouses. I’ve attended several retreats, and I know exactly how I’d outfit my retreat house. I would make sure there were comfortable bedrooms, a huge complete kitchen and dining room, beach access for those who want to take a break, and other amenities. And then a large work room. Each participant would get a six-foot table with a nice lamp, several places to plug in various devices, and a comfortable office chair. Of course, there would be internet access. And maybe a bookshelf full of reference books. The place would be open to writers of all genres, but limited to adults. Most retreats I’ve attended went from Thursday through Sunday, sometimes longer.

You might ask how my retreat spot would differ from others already in operation. Here’s my thought: I’d ask writers to give a minimum of ten writing goals when they first arrive. Then, for each goal they meet, I’d give a partial refund on their fee. How’s that for an incentive to buckle down and git ‘er done?

I suppose demand for a writers-only retreat center might be somewhat limited, so I would need to make it amenable to other types of retreats. I’ve attended scrapbook retreats, and a writer friend of mine attends quilting retreats. If I outfit the place as I described, it would work for these other groups. Although I imagine sewers (otherwise known as sewists) would need a bit more table space since they’d be cutting and ironing as well as sewing. Anyway, I’d open it up to other types of groups to help keep the place open.

Of course, the venue itself is only a small part of providing a getaway destination. Assuming I had the money to PURCHASE this place, I would need to spend money to MAINTAIN it. Here’s only a partial list of people I’d need to hire.

  • I hate cleaning, so I would need to hire people to clean it after each group left.
  • I don’t do yardwork, so I would need to hire people to maintain the grounds.
  • I am no good with fixing things, so I would need a handy-person.
  • I have no patience for legalese, so I would need a person to handle rental contracts, scheduling, and correspondence.
  • I can hardly keep up with my own finances, so I’d need an accountant.
  • I love watching decorating shows, but I’d need help to make the place look nice enough that people will want to come – and return.

I would think that between purchasing the home, supplying it the way I have in mind, and maintaining it, I will use up just about any money I could ever hope to earn, especially if writers are motivated to reach all their goals. In the meantime, I’ll be signing up to attend writing getaways at places like Drifting Dunes (as soon as the pandemic threat lifts) so that I can work toward becoming someone whose titles receive “wide acclaim and sales.”

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
This entry was posted in author's life, authors, goals, What if, writers, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A Writer’s Dream

  1. This for a writer’s retreat? Can I have you design HEAVEN? LOL! This sounds wonderful. Quiet and an incentive works if someone really has a story ready to get out.I know, because it worked for me.
    Now, if you can only get the opportunity to sell one of yours as a movie,(and good luck that they treat it well!)

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I would think that if someone is motivated enough to want to attend a retreat, that person would already have at least a seed of an idea in mind for a story. And in that case, the goals might include fleshing out the characters, outlining a plot, etc. At one retreat I attended, an author (who had already published several books) brought magazines and scrapbooking supplies and simply created a notebook for her next book – she created sections for each of the characters showing what that person would look like, where they lived, interests, etc. Another person worked on her series bible – since she was working on a series she wanted to plot out how the stories and characters would connect. Goals wouldn’t have to refer to the number of words written.

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  2. The writing retreat is a wonderful idea, Patricia. I’ve been to them and enjoyed my time with other writers working toward a common goal…to write. If I had the opportunity to set one up, I’d love for it to be near a small quiet lake with lots of woods surrounding it. The building would have to be very comfy, like an old home with lots of rooms but a large common place where writers could brainstorm. No set rules, no scheduled classes, no scheduled anything except meals. The time would be strictly for writers to work or relax. No demands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Exactly the type of place I have in mind! Even meals could be optional, for those who happen to be “in the zone.” Thanks for weighing in, Sharon.

      Like

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    with your organizational ability and incredible productivity, I can definitely see this retreat of yours meeting the needs of writers and other groups.
    And I really like your notion of refunding part of the fee to those participants who achieve certain of their stated goals.
    I hope you hurry and get that “ship” in port, so I can see the fruits of your new wealth and fame in this cool retreat.

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  4. I loved joining you at Drifting Dunes retreat and I accomplished so much! But your idea for a writers’ retreat house is heaven on earth. And the reward is a brilliant idea! Sign me up 🙂

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    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      It was an awesome time, wasn’t it? And who can resist a chance to get money back!
      Thanks for checking in, Elizabeth.

      Like

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I do admire your writer’s retreat! I wouldn’t mind going there myself .

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  6. This sounds like a wonderful retreat and the incentive is brilliant! This is a place I would want to spend a long weekend writing.

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  7. trishafaye says:

    Sign me up! I’d love to attend a retreat like what you described. Great post!

    Like

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