I just finished an experiment.
A few years ago, several writer friends and I went to a remote cabin in southern Utah (remote in the sense in which all of Boulder, Utah is remote) and wrote. We were all quite productive, and vowed to repeat the experience, but then life happened and the cabin became unavailable and we haven’t gone back since.
This year, this past week, I invited roughly the same set of guys to have a week-long writing retreat, at my house in Utah Valley. This could only work because my long-suffering family, and especially my business partner and fellow writer Emily, were willing to vacate the house. Emily took the kids to a hotel, and writers came in: E.J. Patten, Chris Husberg, Steve Diamond, and for one glorious night at the end of the week, Robison Wells.
Every day we wrote from dawn until well after dark, chatting around meals or as we paced about the house thinking out our respective plotting points. We shared dinner duties, and ate well: pasta and pizza and crepes and steak. And in the evenings, we played boardgames: Warrior Knights, Shadows of Brimstone, Taluva, Smash Up, Hey, That’s My Fish!
It’s been a great week. My word total is 43,000 for the week. All together, I think we hit around 140,000. That’s two mass market paperback novels, written in five days.
Not everyone can work this way. It took a group of writers with the ability to shut up, knuckle down, and crank out words. But it was a great success, and I’m already thinking about Retreat to the House on the Hill II.