Why We Get So Much Done on Writing Retreats

I can tell you why in seven words: There is no Internet in our rooms.

I’m with my usual writing friends (Mary Kay Andrews, Margaret Maron, Katy Munger, Sarah Shaber, Alexandra Sokoloff and Brenda Witchger) at our usual writing retreat locale (the Weymouth Center for the Arts) and we’re getting tons done. Every morning, Mary Kay makes us (yes she makes us!) set our goals for the day and if we haven’t reached them by the time we reconvene at dinner, we have to hang our heads in shame. My goal for today was 4,000 words and I reached it by four o’clock (4,011 words, to be exact). I’m certain we’ve all reached our goals today, though we haven’t checked in yet. That’s what being here is all about: getting away from our regular day to day lives to focus on writing and only on writing. But a huge part of our productivity is tied, I’m sure, to the fact that we can only get online in the library of “our” vast mansion. No checking email every five minutes. No stopping to do research on, say, when plastic was invented and getting lost in articles that describe, in fascinating detail, exactly how plastic is made.

Right now, Mary Kay is roasting us a chicken for dinner. After dinner we’ll brainstorm titles or plot problems and then, I hope, play a game or two. We deserve a little down time, but tomorrow, we’ll be right back at it. I honestly can’t wait!





  1. Cindy on May 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    This sounds awesome. I think you should have a contest…and the winner gets to accompany you on one of these retreats…Or better yet…you should set up a retreat at your Ocean Front Property…and invite a few close friends…that also won a contest …and show us how much fun and work a retreat can be…Of course, I would need to be one of those winners… 😉

  2. andrea on May 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    What a neat thing to do!! I’ve never thought of a writing retreat before— ive done art retreats and things like that where we have to creativity express ourselves and push past our limits. And actually the other day i was thinking of a few things I’d love to write about, so i quickly grabbed my pen and notebook that never leaves my side and wrote them down. I got to thinking about what i could do with what i just wrote- how to turn it into a plot- maybe into a full fledged story, but how does anyone every get time for that? Maybe a few days away without any internet to a relaxing location is a good idea… let those ideas escape me.
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your time at the retreat Diane and that you’re able to meet each of your personal goals 🙂

  3. Shelly on May 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    This place looks so serene. So tranquil. Im sure you eill get alot accomplished as well as have fun amd share many ideas.

  4. Margo on May 16, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Diane, I love when you and your writing friends retreat to the Weymouth Mansion…you always share your stay with us and your excitement and creativity becomes contagious…I read about your day and then start setting my own goals. Hope the peanut m&m’s made it to the retreat as usual (-:)

    • Diane Chamberlain on May 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

      They did, Margo, but I’m afraid the days of gorging on them here at Weymouth are over. Everyone’s trying to eat healthy and no one appreciated it when I brought out a bowl of them, so I’m stuck nibbling on them by myself! I guess our new indulgence will be carrot sticks. 🙁

  5. Ann on May 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Looking forward to seeing some pictures of you and your writing friends while you are at the beautiful mansion. So much talent at Weymouth this week!

  6. Margo on May 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Yikes!…carrots in place of peanut m&m’s!…if it were me, I’d sneak them in my bedroom and indulge while everyone else is sleeping…no way could I go without my chocolate fit at nite (-:)

  7. Wanda on May 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I am with Cindy. Would love to accompany you to one of your retreats. Peanuts are healthy, and if it is dark chocolate it is healthy also. I need to restrict my time on line as well I have so much to do around here and the computer keeps calling me. If not the computer the book I am reading calls to me. I should hide them both or send them to work with DH.

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