This weekend, as part of my personal noveling marathon, I will be joining 9 other WriMos (writers who participate in NaNoWriMo) in a writing retreat we like to call the Jump Start Weekend. It will be a weekend full of just writing, writing madly, and getting a tremendous word count right away at the beginning of the month while will are all still totally hyped about our novels. We are leaving our non-writing friends and families behind – because they are distractions from putting words on the page.
There were four of us last year. It was a wild idea that the ladies of my year round writing group thought up. “Hey,” we thought. “ Wouldn’t it be fun to get away and just write that first weekend in November.” So we got a room at a local casino and ditched all our everyday responsibilities for giggles and words. It was an unmitigated success. Even with the distraction of all those flashy machines between us and food (at a scrumptious buffet), we still managed to crank out a total of 60,000 words in those 2 days. An impressive total, and one that I hope to repeat this year (scaled up for the additional participants).
There were the usual silly things that happen when you put four good friends in a hotel room – like the pillow confessionals after we’d turned out the lights. Then there were the writing specific silly moments like when Sarah complained about her characters trying to have sex in Chapter 2. The only reason they didn’t try in Chapter 1 is because they hadn’t met yet. Or then there were the times when we did head into the sea of slot machines and were trying to sweet talk the machines into payout (we got LOOKED AT for that). There was the inadvertent adventure that happened when I woke up before the others and took my ‘puter out to the chairs in the hall while the others slept. I couldn’t find a key in the dark, so I did my best to leave a note (I grabbed the blue pen and the blue pad of paper – fail). When they woke up they went looking for me, only they went the wrong way and were all over the hotel before they thought about the little sitting area where I was happily writing away. After the panic was done we laughed about it – and still do.
All the while we were there we rewarded each other with sticky notes for each 1K. The notes were passed around so we could all sign congrats – by the end they were getting a little silly because well after signing 60 of the sticky notes and writing that much in one weekend we were getting a little board with “congrats”. We then stuck them to the tops of our computers so that we would be reminded of what they were, and so that as we went to other events, people would ask about them and we would be able to tell our tales of writing.
Well it worked. This year we are doing it again with a larger crew. We won’t be at a casino because we want to be all in one place and we just wouldn’t all fit in one hotel room. With more people I’m sure we’ll have even more crazy stories – and not just the ones we are writing.