Retreats, revisions, and rest. And community. Lots of community!

This past week, I was one of eight women who attended Lori L. Lake’s 2014 Autumn Women Writer’s Retreat in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. What an amazing experience. Lori and her partner, Luca, coordinated eight days of food, fun, one-on-one-time, collaging, and group discussions. If you’re not familiar with Lori and her work, check her out

The Oregon coast is an experience in itself. This was the view I had when I looked up from writing.

Rockaway 2014 woking at the beach

It’s truly amazing what can happen when women get together at a place that not only soothes the soul, but is designed to inspire.

Rockaway 2014 beach and waves sun

Luca cooked her butt off, keeping us all full and energetic with healthy food that was delish!

Rockaway 2014 healthy plate

I’m not sure I’ve ever had that many veggies on one plate at one sitting. My mom was beaming down from heaven. She was a huge advocate of putting as many colors on your plate as you could.

The days were glorious. Get up when you want, write till lunch, chow down, take a walk on the beach, write until supper time. I used this time to finish a first revision on an older manuscript, and I admit I’ve been working on it for eleven months. In fact, I fly home tomorrow at 10:00 am, and I reached the end of the manuscript at 1:00 am, just half an hour ago. The story is called Operation Stop Hate, and is a 180 degree turn from my usual snarky humor that comes out in my Shay O’Hanlon Caper series. It’s about a school shooting motivated by hate group music that was distributed on school grounds. There’s a parallel storyline that involves a female stalker who’s got her sights set on the main character. It’s been a long ride, and I look forward to setting the MS aside for just a little while as I get started on prepping for Shay 5, Blood Money Murder.

Of course, it wasn’t all nose to the grindstone. It was terrific getting to know the other participants. We had a psychologist, a scientist, a garden designer, a ASL interpreter, a retired journalist, a USPS gal, and a drumming computer geek. The vast knowledge that was under the roof of the Oregon Writer’s Colonyhouse was staggering, and led to many interesting conversations.

I’m so appreciative I had this opportunity. I know there are many, many folks out there who would love to do something like this but are unable for many reasons. In that case, I encourage you to create your own retreat–for writing, for meditating, for celebrating the creative side of yourself. It can be a short half-hour retreat, or maybe you could swing a weekend of focusing on what moves you. I think we often fail to recharge our batteries as we move through our days that blend into weeks that blend into months, and years. I know I’m guilty of burning the candle on both ends. I’ll head home tomorrow and try to follow my own advice. When things get too hectic, I’m going to pull the picture below up and remember that life needs to be balanced, and I’m the only one that can make it happen.

Rockaway 2014 sun over roof



  1. Loved the report on Lori and Luca’s retreat. I hope to go some soon year. I agree with you about the value of retreat(s) as a way to recharge our batteries, whether we are writers, readers, or just people in general. I believe that women in our society are taught we MUST be all things to all people and we exhaust ourselves easily. Your ideas about a half hour retreat, a week end retreat, just to celebrate our creative selves, whatever that form of creativity is, are wonderful! I wish all the Women&Words readers a retreat before the holidays get crazy!



    • Ona, I couldn’t agree more. I think that women have carried the expectation of the be all end all and it makes for a rough road. i hope one day you can make the retreat, and until then maybe you can create time avd space for your own mini retreat 🙂


  2. Oh, sure. There you were, eating delicious food and watching the surf roll in while I was hammering away on a dingy laptop in a back room worthy of a gritty noir film trying to write a short story for a certain anthology of mysteries [hint hint hint] fortified by a diet that would make Sam Spade comment about vegetables.

    Well, Missy, I hope you’re happy!


    It looks fabulous. Really glad you got to go!


    • Uhhh, yeah. Andi—-I guess I was in the lap of happiness while you pounded the keys in your dungeon from noir hell LOL!!! However, I was forwarded the results of your amazing, superwoman efforts regarding a certain anthology, and I think the pain was well worth it. And Sam Spade commenting about veggies? Holy cow, girl! BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!


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