Good day and welcome to Thursday.

I’ve been off the radar for a number of weeks and I assure you I’ve kept myself busy the whole time.

Last weekend was the glorious Naked Nowhere writing retreat. I just made the name up because of artistic license, but basically my writing group, the Naked Wordshop, took off and stayed the weekend in an old hunting cabin in the middle of southern Ohio.

How nowhere? Think Gillilgan’s Island; No phone, no Internet, no cell coverage, not a single luxury. We won’t discuss the bathroom situation, except to say it was, thankfully indoors.

Some members made it down on Thursday, others (myself included) got there Friday and we all stayed through about 1 on Sunday afternoon. In between, we wrote and critiqued and wrote and played cards and edited and discussed the publishing landscape.

And ate.

We brought food for about 3 more writers groups to last through the winter. It was all good food, mind you, but it was hard not to have to roll myself out of there on Sunday.

I managed to get some serious work done on my Work in Progress. My Urban Fantasy novel got some real attention, from both the editing and writing angles.
I wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000 words over the course of the weekend. I’m really thrilled about that. Since I have a 3 year-old son at home, I’m used to getting up really early. On the retreat, I got to sleep in until 7am both Saturday and Sunday and still get in about 2 hours of writing before taking a break. I think I was the first person up both days, so it was nice to find a good spot and get to work for a bit.
When I ran out of steam, I edited a little bit. My plan has been to get to the end before doing any real edits, so on the retreat, I just cleaned a few things up – like the one character’s name that changed somewhere near the middle and finding and replacing the placeholders with the character name that I only recently decided on.

It was a wonderful retreat. I wasn’t able to make it last year, but I’ll be sure to find a way not to miss it next year.

So, where does that leave me with my WIP? Well, that’s pretty exciting. Thanks to the retreat and a little bit of writing I’ve done since, I’m really close to the end of the first draft. Weee-Hooo!

I’m now at 76,000 words of what I’m planning on being an 80,000 word draft. That’s uh… only around 4,000 words to go, right? (Stupid math skills) I should be able to declare draft #1 complete within the next week or two depending on how busy I get with other things.

Then? I’ll let it sit for another couple of weeks and tackle the next version. How long could that take, right?

Have you had any luck with a writing retreat? Any retreats or locations you’d recommend?

Hope you’ve all been productive in my absence!