Retreating to Advance

By Cathy Perkins
The weekend marked the 10th anniversary of our
writing retreat. Wow, ten years. Ten years ago, Rachel Grant, Rebecca Clark,
Courtney Milan, Darcy Burke and I were Golden Heart finalists and staged our
first retreat. (We invited Elisabeth Naughton to join us several years ago and
Kris Kennedy couldn’t come this year.) We’re all multi-published authors now,
but we’re also friends. We’ve seen each other’s children grow up, celebrated
successes and consoled losses.
The primary focus of the weekend is writing. Usually silence
reigns except for the clicking of Elisabeth’s keys, but there are lighter
moments too. We reviewed the 432 pictures from Darcy’s photo shoot and picked
favorites for book cover potential. Of course, we had to stage our own “shoot.” 
This is our “thoughtful” pose. 
Yeah, not.
One of the most helpful things for me was the business
discussion. We talked about goals for the upcoming year and mouths gaped as
Darcy described her publication schedule. “I treat it like a job, because
that’s what it is,” she explained. In order to meet her schedule, she sets—and
meets—daily word counts. 
Her comment echoed Steven King. I listened to On Writing
during the drive to Portland. (We change the location every year, but the house
is always in the Pacific Northwest.) King said he goes to his writing space
every morning and doesn’t come out until he has at least 1500 words on the
page. Some days he’s done by noon. Others, he’s there until dinner time.
That’s my takeaway from this year’s retreat. Consistency.
Discipline. Sure, I wrote nearly 15,000 words this weekend. Some of them will
turn out to be lousy, but the first draft of my latest novel is nearly complete
and editing will deal with the clunky sections. But every day since I’ve been
home, instead of checking email, social media, and the news when I get up, I
write. I’m roughly two scenes away from reaching “The End.”
And then the editing will begin…and the plotting of the next
Thanks Darcy. And Steven. 

An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 
She’s hard at work on the next book in the Holly Price series, 
In It For The Money.

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