As I write this blog I’m sitting in a home, much of which was built sometime in the early 1800s. It’s set on 300 acres in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains, in Remsen, New York.
Wolfka, the friendliest dog in quite possibly the entire world, is curled up somewhere, probably at the feet, or near the feet of, a busy writer who is tapping away at their keyboard.
Writers are writing in the Adirondack room, and others are sitting around the antique dining table, the chandelier above entwined with pine branches and reflecting its soft light.
And while inside authors are creating worlds and characters to delight their readers, outside the grounds of Thistle Dew provide their own inspiration. Sculptures dot the grounds, along with two ponds, often visited by ducks and other birds. In the spring and summer you can see and hear the large frogs and toads that inhibit the ponds, but now a gentle silence extends over it all, awaiting the much anticipated spring awakening.
Trails wind through the extensive acreage that, in good weather, you can walk around and spot turkeys, deer, rabbits, and other wildlife.
I’m lucky enough to only live 20 minutes down Route 12 of this lovely location. So when the hosts schedule a writing retreat, I try to go as often as I can, and as my day job schedule allows.
Arriving on a Friday, those who attend get settled, start on our tasks for the weekend, and enjoy a dinner prepared by one of us. See, we all pitch in when we attend the retreat, each of us claiming a meal and making something for the group.
Then we focus. The weekend is about whatever each writer needs: Writing, revising, editing, marketing tasks, outlining, blogging, brainstorming, or simply refilling the well.
While our tasks for the weekend may be different and they may be (mostly) solitary, we are all still working together, in a way. The group focus helps each of us move forward on our journey.
This weekend I’ve written almost 7000 new words on a project I’m revising. There were a lot of deletions, as well as I moved scenes around and filled in gaps in the timeline. Some scenes I put aside for my newsletter to include as bonus content. I even did some blogging (that didn’t count toward my word count), and I read a bit of a new book I’d purchased.
I was able to accomplish that by the calm and focus Thistle Dew offered to me. I set the phone aside, limited my social media intake, and just worked on the tasks I sought to accomplish.
And it was glorious.
Thistle Dew isn’t just about the idyllic location, its fascinating history, or the fabulous antiques dotting the interior of the home. It’s also about the friends and colleagues who come, the fantastic hosts, the conversations had, and the knowledge shared amongst the group. And while I’ll have left by the time this blog posts to prepare for the new week, and the day job, I’ll leave knowing I’ll be back soon, welcomed and encouraged to keep writing, and keep dreaming.