Daily Archives: August 19, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Spent a couple days with a writer friend and critique partner, Tammy Jones at a Bed and Breakfast this week and it was wonderful. It’s not that I can’t write at home because I can and do but there is something about going somewhere without any distractions to help nudge the muse. We’d stayed in this little college town, Grinnell, IA a year earlier at another B&B and the energy felt great. Was it because it was a college town with all the students or was it just the peaceful feel of a small town? I don’t know but for whatever reason, I had wanted to return. That first time, a year ago  a handful of us stayed one night before a day long workshop in the area.

Marsh House was our destination this year. As you can see by the photos it is a beautiful old Victorian and the inside is equally well cared for. It was my pleasure to live among all that history. Though televisions were available, we chose to ignore them and that helped with the feeling of living in the past. The house is filled with wonderful antiques. I like antiques but know nothing about them. The owner said they are all American and to my untrained eye they looked like they were all from the same time period. Beds had huge headboards and foot boards. Bathroom had a claw foot tub. Parquet floors greeted you in the entry and the stairs to the second floor had a landing with a stained glass window. There were several stained glass windows throughout the house that allowed enough light to give the home an airier feel than you might think from the exterior photos. All of the rooms had plants and live flowers.  I meant to get some interior photos but got involved writing and forgot. The owner is a gracious hostess who asked us the first day whether we wanted lemon bars or brownies. That was when I knew we would hit it off. I voted for the chocolate. She baked them that afternoon and the mouth-watering goodness floated throughout the house making them impossible to escape. We found them in a covered cake plate with homemade chocolate chip cookies. The first night, my friend Tammy and I were the only ones there. We probably spent more time visiting than writing but that was fine, we got it out of our system so that the next day we were ready to devote the day to our novels. Because we spent so much time talking the night before, we both went to bed later than either of us had planned . We finally called it a night and before we knew it – it was time to get up for breakfast.  Cooking bacon and fresh coffee called and I answered. The owner served eggs,  bacon, seasoned potatoes, muffins, blueberry and banana nut pancakes. Afterwards we both felt a little tired partly because of the late night and maybe a little because of the good food; so decided to start the day off with a nap. I know, I would never had thought about doing that at home. Mine was a cat nap so because I didn’t want to disturb Tammy and the two ladies who had come to do the weekly cleaning, I gathered my laptop and headed out to the front porch. The sun was shining and there was just enough of a breeze that I was able to enjoy the scenery and get something written even with a quick visit from the mail man.  By then, Tammy was awake so since we were within walking distance of the downtown area, we walked up for lunch and to check out a quilting shop – (Tammy) and a book store – (Me). I was grateful for the walks as a way to burn a few more calories and it enabled us to see more of the community. We met an older gentleman walking his corgis and by the second time we bumped into him, the corgis acted as if we were old friends. We then walked back and did some serious writing.  Finally about 8:15 P.M. we decided to stop and go find some dinner. We tried several different eating establishments while we were there and were not disappointed by any of them.

It was an enjoyable experience, kind of like when my mother shipped me off to my much older sisters, who had kids my age, only better. This time I didn’t have to help weed the garden.

Most of my escapes for writing have revolved around workshops and conferences so my days were always planned and there was little time for actual writing. This was a chance to focus on writing. I would definitely recommend a quiet get away, whether it’s a B&B, a cabin on a lake, or even a nice hotel.  Writing is a solitary experience and because of that, I do think it’s important to network and interact with other writers but I also think it’s important to balance that out with time and a place to write. It’s okay to get away and give yourself the gift of uninterrupted time. Mr. G., my hubby knew I wanted to go and the summer was slipping away so thanks to him for giving me that little extra nudge to follow through.

Do you ever get away to write? If so where do you go?

Happy writing,


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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Writing a Novel

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