On Planning an At Home Writer’s Retreat

… and making room for magic…

Jennifer M Koskinen


I’m not a writer. Ok, *technically* that’s not true.

Finally found a use for that macbook pro box I can’t throw away — perfect for manuscript storage!

I’ve kept journals since I was ten. I write stories for my photography blog. I’ve written a few articles here…and there.

And technically I have published a few books, if self-published books full of mostly photographs count (lots of pretty pictures in my Art of Train Travel book if you like that sort of thing).

What brings me here though — to write about writing — is the odd fact that I find myself now three (four?) years into writing something which clearly would heretofore like to be referred to as *A BOOK*.

A long format, reach-in-and-take-over-my-life, made me purchase and learn new software to organize: *BOOK.*

A *BOOK* which — many days anyway — seems to be using me as its tool. I’m just a fertile womb from which this creature wants to be born.

The due date for this baby is yet to be determined but those painful Braxton Hicks contractions have begun (which, for what its worth, started for me about halfway through my human pregnancy, which, for the love of all things holy, means I have a long way still to go).

I’ve been thinking lately that it sure would be nice to have a general idea for how long the gestation of this particular species of “hybrid memoir written by yours truly” might be. Especially since I’m no longer able to keep the burgeoning reality a secret. That, and this growth is now bumping into my real job like a pregnant belly nudges into the steering wheel. I’m still figuring out how to navigate both at the same time.

So, this week, inspired by a series of events — signs from the universe if you believe in that sort of thing — I decided to clear my (slow-season, kid at college) calendar for a focused, news-detox, jobs-on-pause, print the dang manuscript for the first time ever (as a tree-hugger filling nearly an entire ream was both deeply unsettling, and deeeeeply satisfying) and read, note up and absorb the beast-baby all at once.

Which is how I happened upon my first ever: At Home Writer’s Retreat.

Since I didn’t know what I was doing, and didn’t wish to clear my calendar without…