Utah Writing Retreat—Alone with a BUNCH of Authors

It was perfect timing at Salt Lake Comic Con in September when I stepped on a hotel elevator with James Duckett, another writer I’d met a couple of times before. He looked at me, got a contemplative look on his face, and said, “I won’t know unless I ask.”  He told me about a writers’ retreat he was participating in, one that would be held the first week of November near Park City. They were looking for a “writer in residence” who would come, give a few breakout sessions, and spend the rest of the time curled up writing or editing (thus providing a “professional good example”).  As it happened, that was EXACTLY when I knew I would be in the midst of a big concentration-heavy edit on ETERNITY’S MIND.

As many of you know, I love to go off by myself in the mountains, find a quiet lodge where I can spend days writing without being interrupted. I wasn’t entirely sure about doing it in a large lodge with 20 or more other writers, but I decided to give it a try.

I am very glad I did. James picked me up from the Salt Lake City airport on Thursday morning and drove me out to Heber City in the mountains; we had lunch in Park City, then went off to find the lodge.  People were starting to arrive, food and equipment were hauled in, and I got to my room. After changing into comfy clothes (my writing “uniform” of sweat pants and fluffy slippers), I found a spot in one of the sofas near a fireplace, put on my ear phones, and started editing.

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The scenery was beautiful and inspirational, and the group—writers of all levels and all genres—were all dedicated, eager, and respectful. I felt immediately at home. We would all get together for group meals, which was a time for conversation, but the rest of the time they were all diligent workers, wearing headphones, talking quietly, devoted to their WIP.

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We got to know each other quite well over the next three days. Each night after dinner I gave a talk on various aspects of writing or publishing, but also talked a lot informally.  I think we all benefited from the experience.

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As a measure of the success, from the time I left home on Thursday morning to the time I returned home on Sunday afternoon, I edited 324 pages in ETERNITY’S MIND—which is an incredible pace, even for me. Now that I’m home, getting “only” 50 pages done in a day seems like quite a small accomplishment.

Thank you all for a wonderful experience.