Rainforest Writers Retreat 2024

This really snuck up on me this year! A couple weekends ago, I spent several days on the Olympic Peninsula at the Rainforest Writers Retreat. Opportunities to see other people in the writing community are increasingly precious these days. Thanks to perpetual COVID risk calculus, I’m much less outgoing than I used to be in these situations, but I managed to pick my spots this year and had a wonderfully relaxing time.

I’ve been in a muzzy place with writing lately. I entered the retreat both in between projects and in between mindsets: on the cusp of self-publishing, but still with a foot in the door of traditional publishing ambition. This made for a less outwardly productive retreat than I would have liked, but I still managed important headspace work: revising a short story, completing a novel-and-query polish, and advancing a quirky disaster novella that had been stalled out. I’m still trying to find my feet in 2024, but Rainforest, as usual, provided a nice jolt of creative energy.

The weather was wet, cold, and miserable, which is to say, fairly typical Rainforest weather—although definitely snowier than in previous years. This limited opportunities for outdoor socializing, so I mostly stayed holed up inside with a tight crew of “podded up” folks. With the exception of a couple of dinner outings, I didn’t leave my room or my friends’ cabins much. While part of me misses attending wall-to-wall Cabin 6 parties and crowded group dinners, a stronger part is convinced the pandemic has broken that part of my brain. Again, though, I chose my battles strategically, and that seems to be working out.

Cranking out massive word counts is definitely my favorite retreat mode, but I wasn’t expecting that this year, and gave myself permission to disconnect, relax, and shrug off the day-job malaise. On that score, it was a perfect vacation!

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