Today, I’m thrilled to have The Stepsister’s Tale author Tracy Barrett stopping by with an excellent guest post about her favorite writing spot. Check out Tracy’s post below, then tell us in the comments — what is your favorite place to write (or to read).
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My Favorite Writing Spot
by Tracy Barrett
I’ve been in a writers’ group for about fifteen years. We meet every two weeks and at the meeting each one of us is allotted half an hour or so to read aloud part of what she’s working on and get comments from the others. It’s very useful but it can be frustrating, since sometimes we have a lot to say about what someone has read but we have to cut the discussion short so everyone gets a turn. Also, it’s hard to keep track of the details of a story when you hear a chapter every two weeks, so the meetings are most useful for little details — awkward dialogue, unclear descriptions, etc.—but not for tracing a character’s development or the story arc.
So when we get to feeling too frustrated, we go to a convent out in the country. It’s in Kentucky and is a beautiful drive from where we live in Tennessee. The convent was founded about two hundred years ago by two young women and a priest who set up a boarding school for girls there, in what was then the wilderness. We usually stay in the old school building. The hardwood floors are so polished that you can see your reflection in them and the windows are huge, letting in a lot of light. It’s very, very peaceful and quiet.
The coolest nuns in the world live there after they retire. They’re all very old but most are in good health. Their order is a teaching order which means that they’re all former educators. These gray-haired ladies—some of them are more than 100 years old—tell us stories about when they hid from guerrillas in Peru with their students or set up a school in Africa or something else equally adventuresome. Such an inspiration! We have meals with the sisters but otherwise they leave us alone to do our work.
Some of us stay in our rooms to write and others gather in the sitting room and work together in silence. Well, usually in silence! The grounds are beautiful and we go on walks either alone or with others and talk about what we’re working on and about life in general.
We always return from the retreat with new energy and new ideas. I highly recommend writers’ retreats to everyone!
For the comments: What is your favorite place to write or read?