The Unexpected Gifts of My Writing Retreat


Today is my last day at my writing retreat. It’s time to pack up and go home. I had hoped to get so much done here and I was sad yesterday because I was feeling like I had failed.

Two weeks ago, I looked at my writing schedule and realized I could actually finish my Rapunzel draft while I was on retreat. That was before my computer died and I got sick. I lost a week and a half of work time, putting me way behind on my writing goals.

Although I managed (with lots of help from my wonderful husband) to pack and get up to the mountains as scheduled, I was still recovering from my cold when I arrived at the cabin. I’ve had to spend time sleeping, reading, napping, and oh, yeah, sleeping. I also did some writing, but no more than I would do during a normal week at home. And that bummed me out.

The retreat has not been what I expected. I have not accomplished the things I wanted to. But the good news is, other things have happened while I’ve been here, and I realize now how valuable they are.

  • I got to talk in-depth with my friends about writing and the vagaries of the creative process, both topics I find fascinating.
  • When I was full of doubt about my novel, one of my friends helped me to see that my instincts were good and I should go with my gut. I would still be agonizing over what to do if she hadn’t reassured me I was on the right track.
  • I got time to take care of myself. I went for a walk in the sunshine each day and got plenty of rest.
  • I was able to ease my way back into my daily routine, which had been completely abandoned while I was sick.

I wanted a finished manuscript, but I needed good conversation, creative support, and improved health. Fortunately, this week gave me a whole lot of the things I really need.

I’m feeling much better about the retreat now. So much better, than I can’t wait to get back to my writing.


Published by

Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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