I recently spent a week with my writers group at our annual retreat. It was wonderful! We rented a cabin about an hour from home, in a beautiful, peaceful location. There were beds for all, and bathrooms, and plenty of space for each of us to sprawl out and create.
When I write at home, I'm on a schedule. I might have an hour or two, but then I have the events of the day to contend with. And sometimes even during that time, I have laundry to switch, or phone calls I just have to make, or the random "Mom! Where are you?". I can get a lot done, but those little distractions are expected, at least at a subconscious level.
So when I was at my writers retreat, surrounded by space, and peace, and tasty food I didn't have to prepare much of, my mind was truly free. I got so much done, and had a blast doing it!
I'm currently working on a rewrite, that I wasn't super thrilled about at first, but I have a character that just won't leave me alone. So I decided it was time to let him have his say once more. In the setting of the retreat, the story just flowed. I'm not sure that would have happened any other way.
We also mixed in Martha Alderson's 'Plot Whisperer' book and video, which was excellent instruction. We all felt we'd learned specific techniques to apply to our stories. One evening we critiqued one of our member's recently finished drafts (which I'd read in one sitting !!) Add some 'Downton Abbey' reruns, a dinner out at a nice restaurant, walks down the lane, and we had a wonderful plan.
I love my writers group! We synergize like nothing I've seen, and have a lot of fun while we're at it. I highly recommend planning a writers group retreat for your group.
Writing for children is a passion - along with reading kid's books, writing plays for kids, and teaching kids how to write!