The end of 2022 was a bit of a blur. With the holidays, a busy time at work, and the annual November and December episodes of Not About Lumberjacks, I never got around to writing about the 9th annual writing retreat.
The Retreat that Almost Wasn’t
The 8th annual retreat was a return to East Texas after skipping a year because of the COVID pandemic. The 9th annual retreat was looking like it might have been skipped because my friend Deacon and I were both very busy with day job work.
But we made the decision to schedule something for 2022 — work and preparation be damned.
The 2022 retreat took place at Cooper Lake State Park from November 13 – 15. It was our first fall retreat (we usually schedule things for April or May). We always wanted to do a retreat in cooler weather, and we got more than we planned!
It was a colder-than-usual weekend, and we were right on the lake. With the wind and rain, it made holing up and writing easier than usual…although evenings were clear enough to sit beside a fire.
“Why Don’t We Wait Here, See What Happens”
On the coldest night, it was misty, windy, and felt like 34 degrees. Miserable (but fun).
We joked about how it was like the ending of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Still, we chatted about writing, life, and geeky things.
So, What Did I Work On?
I mentioned in last year’s writing retreat recap that the novel I’d been working on seemed to have run its course with submissions. This year, I worked on Not About Lumberjacks’s November tale, “Tin-Hearted Man.”
The last couple retreats have felt weird because, up until then, all retreats found me focusing on novels. But now, Not About Lumberjacks is a thing I can rely on, so stories for the show get my attention.
It was nice heading to the state park with some rough ideas for “Tin-Hearted Man,” and returning with a completed draft.
My favorite thing about the retreat was seeing my friend Deacon’s return to writing.
The quick version: after years in a corporate environment (and another layoff) Deacon had enough. In his 40s, he decided for a full-blown career change.
He returned to school and became a nurse.
This meant recent retreats found him studying more than writing. And 2022 found him catching up on charting for work more than writing.
But this year, he wrote!
He’s back to the novel he set aside for a bit, and it’s great seeing him back at it!
The Importance of Doing It…
It would have been easy to have skipped the 2022 retreat — it would have been easy to say, “Well, work is busy for both of us, and the holidays are almost here…let’s pick it all back up next spring.”
But we’re not getting any younger. We picked our days and did it!
I missed an in-person team-builder at work, and Deacon had plenty he could have done, but…you don’t finish writing unless you claim the time.
We did, and it was another great time in a cabin east of home.
(And the good thing about doing the retreat so late in the year is that the next one is right around the corner!)