Winding down…

fall colorsHow can one avoid inspiration with views like this? It has been a wonderful retreat. Time for prayer and sacraments, time for writing and fellowship. New friends, new directions.

We go our separate ways tomorrow. While I did not get as much writing done as I had hoped, the presenters have challenged and encouraged all of us. Al Kresta of Ave Maria Radio and Dave Krajewski shared new ways to view our faith and our calling as writers. Fellow participants have validated and supported each other in our respective walks – otherwise known as struggles! – through the often lonely writing journey.

I will have plenty of time to think about all of it as I drive home tomorrow. 🙂

And when I get home, maybe I can build in mini-writing retreats in my own back yard!

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Your Word is My Delight – halfway done already!

Heart shape in treesDo you see the heart-shaped blue sky formed by the trees above the Pieta statue? I hope so! I tried to get the right angle so I could share it.

Our retreat is half over already. Hard to believe. From prayer and sacraments to writing, from walks to a bonfire last night, from the solitude of writing to the pleasure of community, this has been a sacred time. As often happens when the Holy Spirit is given an opportunity into our lives, there has been healing, changes in direction, and discovery of talent.

Michelle Buckman has given wonderful presentations on using details to both improve the craft of writing and create Catholic literature that speaks without preaching. Today has been filled with many discussions, sharing, and networking. I see much good coming out of this retreat. ♥

Peace.

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Beauty and inspiration

Arbor at St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, MIThis is an arbor near the entrance of our retreat house at St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, Michigan. What a beautiful space – and beautiful spaces abound here, thanks to Margaret Rose Realy, master gardener and leader of a dedicated cadre of volunteers. Margaret’s vision has flourished in the dozen memorial gardens planted on the grounds, and is a legacy of love for the many retreatants who visit this sacred place. Margaret has written two books, A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time, and Cultivating God’s Garden Through Lent. Check them out. She has inspired me to go home and explore my own vision of visible prayer!

And now I shall leave this blog and go do what I came here to do: Write. 🙂

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Here! The adventure begins…

CWG fireplace 1st nightThe Catholic Writers’ retreat has begun! I’ve met so many wonderful people! Right now we are sitting in the great room in front of the fireplace, with a healthy and wide ranging discussion. Looking forward to writing what came up for me during the drive. 🙂

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Your Word is My Delight, Catholic Writers’ Retreat, here I come!

carOn the road!

More later.

🙂

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Tomorrow! Your Word is My Delight, Catholic Writers’ Retreat begins!

TomorrowYes. Tomorrow.

Today is too busy to post much – but it’s been a wonderful day of connecting with friends and family. 🙂

By this time tomorrow, I will be checking in to the retreat, and meeting people in person who I’ve met online and via email!

Tonight, I will pick out travel CDs for the road trip and finish packing.

St. Francis Retreat Center, here I come!

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Two days! Writers’ Retreat coming up FAST!

Chocolate Hearts and Pink RosesTwo days! The countdown is going by in warp speed all of a sudden! Yikes!

Today: Oil, checked. Tires, checked. New windshield wipers, car wash, car vacuumed. At least the car is ready for the road trip!

Other: Odds and ends tied up after a lovely morning of fellowship with my sisters in Christ from the ACTS community.

I also discovered that two of the attendees of Your Word is My Delight, Catholic Writers’ Retreat are from Montana, where we visit family a couple of times a year. How cool is that? And such a small world! Looking forward to meeting them!

Last but not least: The writing ideas are solidifying even though I haven’t had time to spend on them. 🙂

Tomorrow is packed with family and Mass, so I can leave early on Sunday. One word description? Excited!

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Three days until Your Word is My Delight, Catholic Writers’ Retreat!

????????????????Three days left until the retreat! Today has been filled with the mundane, and with chores that can’t wait another week while I’m gone.

I have not gotten to revisions based my critique partners’ comments, so it appears that will, indeed, be the first order of business once I get to the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt. However, I did have a flood of ideas during Mass this morning, and had to write them down surreptitiously.  😉 The Holy Spirit in action, perhaps? As long as I don’t get distracted from the moment!

The chance to get outside and enjoy this beautiful October weather – and this image of handprints created from great colors of paint – have nudged my creative side while in the midst of the mundane.

And that leaves me smiling for the day!

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The countdown continues! Four days…

Angel with four leaf cloversLook closely – some of the angel’s clovers are four-leaf clovers! Nice juxtaposition of faith and hope!

My mind is churning with new ideas. There are not enough hours in the day or days in the year to write all of these! But by putting them to paper (or Word doc!), I at least stand a chance of producing some of them. 🙂

I have heard of fiction writers using Excel spreadsheets for keeping track of elements and/or details of their stories, but I read a quick comment attributed to Jade Lee which made part of the ‘craft’ side of writing fiction click into place for me: She uses a spreadsheet for each chapter/scene that lists its Goal, the Point of View character’s Goal/Motivation/Conflict arc, and how that Goal is Thwarted (disaster, raising of the stakes, failure – or whatever term makes sense for you). I’m going to apply this technique to both my work in progress and the one I’m planning for Nano. The wonderful side effect of doing this is a ready-made synopsis!

I need a two week writing retreat… 🙂

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Five days until Writing Retreat!

Jack-o-lanternsPreparing for this writing adventure is very different from the hoopla and excitement of this summer’s Romance Writers of America conference. I’m not sure I could handle a steady diet of the intensity of that experience – which makes this retreat such a contrast. A pleasant contrast, to be sure!

Today is filled with the mundane of tying up loose ends, getting logistics taken care of. Writing priorities are percolating in the back of my mind, though. These items are taking shape as a rough draft of a plan:

🙂 If I have time before I leave, I will catch up on revisions based on my critique partners’ input. If  not, that will be number one on my list.

🙂 Fiction-wise, I will make a lot of progress on Opal’s Jubilee. If I don’t finish it while at the Your Word is My Delight Catholic Writers’ Retreat, I will at least be a lot closer to the end by late next week, and have the conclusion in sight.

🙂 Nonfiction-wise, I hope to create a proposal for a book idea that came to me a few days ago. Never having attempted book-length nonfiction, I plan to network with the Catholic Writers Guild authors at the retreat so I can understand the process better.

🙂 Last, I’d like to sketch out an idea for NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, which kicks off in November.

That’s it for today! It’s a pretty ambitious list. Suddenly all those hours available at the retreat seem inadequate!  But if you don’t dream and scheme, you’ll never accomplish what you hope. We’ll see how it plays out!

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