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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Retreating


Our little condo on Jack Frost Mt.

The last two weeks at my house were real humdingers.  My husband was traveling for work, which left me solo to handle chauffeuring the daughters to and from their various events — including night rehearsals for the local high school musical.  Twice, I had to unexpectedly take off work (which means writing substitute plans) to take one of my daughters to the doctor.

When my husband came home, he told me to get the heck out of Dodge for awhile. He sent me to our Pocono Mountain house, since it wasn’t rented that weekend. It took some gentle prodding to get me to go. Believe it or not, we’ve had the house six years and I’ve never gone there by myself.

Frequent backyard visitors

So I went.  I can’t say it was really a writing retreat.  If I’d had some chapters I was burning to write, I probably would’ve refused to go, holed up in the basement, and spent the weekend attached to my laptop. Instead of writing, I needed some think time, because I was a little bit stuck.

The Lehigh River

Last year, when I participated in that “Write Every Day or Pay” event, I learned that flogging myself to write every day was not good for me.  I already write almost every day, including days when I really ought to stop, rest, and think.

I enjoyed my retreat, and I worked out a few things in my head for my WIP. I also watched a movie alone, went out to eat alone, hiked down to the Lehigh River … and did a little kitchen maintenance in the house. (ie: scrubbed the pots that tenants had left blackened and burned)

I hung out on this bench a long time.

And now that I know how relaxing it is to go up to the mountains on my own, I plan to slip away more often.

When’s the last time you had some alone time?

16 Responses to Retreating

  1. Sarah says:

    I am rather greedy and steal alone time every day, a few hours here and there. I usually use it to write. I probably should take more time to think, but I’m not very good at slowing down and being still (well, my body can do it very well, my brain, not so much). Sounds like a lovely weekend, Dianne! It also sounds like you needed it!

  2. You have two houses?

  3. Tony — We own a rental vacation condo on Jack Frost Mountain. My husband does an amazing job of keeping up with the rentals and the tenants. I just go in and do cosmetic maintenance … and scrub pots. Believe it or not, we only use it ourselves a couple times a year. 🙁

  4. Oh I’m so jealous. I need a week, or a weekend away so bad. My husband thinks I don’t want to spend time with him, but he just doesn’t get it.

  5. Everyday when my kids got to school and my hubby goes to work. Which will be in 1 1/2 hours.:D

    Plus my husband takes the kids to his office on Saturdays and I sneak in more writing then. And I sneak in more writing in the evenings. Hmmm. I sure do a lot of sneaking in off writing.

  6. Oh I am so glad you got to get away- and the house and scenery are gorgeous! I hope you felt restored after your time there was over.

    Last time I had (happy) time to myself, was July 2010 when my daughter was in California on a trip and my husband stuck at work, and I spent six days in Disney World by myself. I had an amazing time. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I’d get on the jet today if I could.


  7. mshatch says:

    No hubby and no little kids means I can spend every minute of my free time writing which I mostly do. But I will say it would be nice to actually get away from my house and go somewhere different – alone. Hmm, maybe I should plan it. Good idea!

  8. Ha! Looks like we were on the same wavelength! Love your mountain house- ya lucky duck. It’s beautiful! And glad you got unstuck. I FINALLY have a wip all planned out and I’ve gotten two chapters in these last few days. I know where I am and where I’m going. It’s a fantastic feeling!

  9. My family rented a cabin in the Poconos a couple times when I was a teenager. LOVED it there! (Although the water in the spring-fed swimming pool was just shy of freezing.) I have time to myself just about every day now, while I’m in my office, and my hubby is out working on one of his project cars. That’s nice, and I appreciate it, but it isn’t the same as going away somewhere by yourself. That’s something I’ve never experienced before, but I think I might enjoy it, as long my hubby isn’t too far away. (I know. Pathetic.)

  10. Linda G. says:

    That sounds positively blissful. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    Now that my kids are grown and have flown the coop, I get quite a bit of time to myself while TG is working. Since he’s in theater, I get a lot of free evenings. The time to myself is restorative, and does wonders for my writing.

  11. What a gorgeous setting–and yay for your hubby in picking up on your need to get away and his willingness to let you.

    My kids are grown, and my hubby’s good to let me have quiet time when I need to write.

  12. I agree on the not forcing it. Usually I take the summer off when the kid are home. I feel horrible, guilty, like I’m not a writer but in the fall I’m full of words and ideas.

  13. Wow, sounds DIVINE! Probably why I retreat into my own head on walks with my dog, car rides, and showers.

    Good for you!

  14. E. Arroyo says:

    You’re brave. I’ve never been alone in my life. Sure, I have a few hours of me time. But alone. In a mountain. With trees and things…Yeah, my imagination runs wild. =)

  15. I’m so glad you had this time for yourself. The freedom to think is so important…I think 🙂

  16. OH my word, this sounds divine! I’m all for an outdoorsy writing retreat! Glad you got a break!