Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Escape

Just Keep Writing...

It's been over 16 years since I gave myself the luxury of a writer's retreat. What a mistake!

I've only been here since yesterday afternoon - here being a friend's B&B in Falmouth - and I've already written 1,200 words. I would have written a lot more, but I had an article to complete about local chocolatiers, which took me close to 4 hours by the time I'd written the copy and designed the page for my online magazine. As I was writing the "must do" article, which was already well past deadline, I found the rusted doors of my creative mind begin to creak open, one millimeter at a time. Yeah, it was that slow!

The whole point in coming here was to step out of my usual routine and do nothing but work on my manuscript for 3 days. No animals to feed at 6am, no sons to negotiate with during the mad scramble to get out the door to school/work by 7:30am, no emails to reply to, no phone calls to answer, no classes to teach, no bills to pay, no leaves to rake and no mail to open...nothing to do but write, eat and sleep.

I have less than 2 months to get to 'THE END' and this was the only way I could think of to jump start my creative engine, which totally crapped out a few weeks ago. The more I tried to show up for my writing, the louder and more dramatic the distractions became. I won't list them here, but let's just say they run the gamut from personal, work and family issues, all claiming priority over one another.

'Nuff about that - I'm here now and that's all that matters.

It took a 10 minute drive into Falmouth to help me unwind after I emailed the Chocolatier's story to my editor. I felt frustrated that I'd spent so much time not writing my novel, but I was hungry and craving some of the home made chocolate I had spent all afternoon writing about.

I grabbed a buffalo chicken wrap (to go) and headed for Ghelfi's, on Main Street. As I'd predicted in my article, the woman behind the counter was delighted to chat about the history of the store and invited me to take a tour of where they made all the chocolate and candies.

It was amazing to see the giant copper kettles and collection of wooden stirring paddles in the kitchen. She showed me the family photo's of 3 generations of chocolate makers, and as I stood in the back office, absorbing the heart and soul of the chocolate world I had only imagined hours earlier, I felt my time writing about our local Chocolatiers was worth it.

I do believe in buying local, and supporting the small businesses who have been serving our community for years. I want to do whatever I can to help them keep their doors open, and if writing an article about them can help do that, even in a small way, it's worth the effort.

 I left with a box of assorted samplings - chocolate covered brittle, milk chocolate turtles, dark chocolate cranberry bark, orange my rush back to my room I missed my turn and wandered around Rte 28A in the dark, singing my heart out to Robbie Williams.

By the time I found the road where I was staying I'd talked myself into NOT taking advantage of the hot tub that was nestled into one corner of the English styled landscaped gardens because I was "too tired"...silly me. How can anyone be too tired for a hot tub?

Ten minutes later I was about to drop my robe and climb into the hot tub when I realized I'd forgotten to put on my bathing suite - I laughed all the way back to my room, kept laughing as I squeezed into my bathing suit and was still laughing as I surrendered to the jets that were churning the water around me. That would have been an epic disaster if my friend had found me wallowing in her spa completely naked - it's okay if it's your own tub, but not at a B&B for god sakes! Get a grip Nic!! I guess I was more tired than I realized...

Tired or not, I poured myself a glass of Pinot Noir, lit my blue "writing candle" and flipped open the lid of my trusted iBook. There was my manuscript, staring right back at me, asking me where the hell I had been all night? I took a deep breath and replied with two hours of non-stop writing.

I don't know how half the bottle of wine disappeared, but by midnight I was ready to crawl into bed and let my characters regroup. They woke me up at 6:30am wanting my attention. For the first time in forever I gave them exactly what they were asking for. I carried my lap top over to the bed, grabbed a bottle of water and started writing again.

Two and a half hours later and I was ready for breakfast. My friend had already set the table for me. I didn't have to do a thing except pour my coffee and juice and fill my bowl with fresh fruit, yogurt and granola.

Now that's a wonderful way to start the day!! I get to repeat this new routine tomorrow :-)

I didn't mean for this to turn into a whole chapter, so I'd best get going...


  1. You always make me smile Nicky. Lovely to read your blog and I could just see the places you were visiting and hear you singing. Couldn't believe you were not going to make use of the hot tub. Glad you did in the end.

    Sounds like a perfect writer's retreat and that your are making the most of the opportunity. Go for it, you can do it. Dying to read the finished article ( I think)!!

    Lots of Love
    Mary Kate Finn!

  2. So glad to hear the visit to the chocolate shop validated your article! Hope the chocolate tasted as good as it sounded...