A Tiny Writer’s Retreat

My mom owns a lake house in North Carolina. She plans to retire there someday, but in the meantime, she rents it out. It’s cute and has gorgeous views and a jacuzzi tub and I have my own room. I only saw the house once, soon after she bought it two years ago, and someone has been renting it ever since.

So when the renter moved out on Friday afternoon, you can bet I was there at 5 am Saturday morning, after a nine and a half hour drive with my boyfriend, ready to claim it as mine for the long weekend.

Once I got there, I realized that it was exactly two years ago that I last visited. My mom, sister, me, and one of my college roommates drove down for Labor Day weekend. I was a senior in college and after only one week into the semester had a boatload of reading to do. It was beautiful there, restful, warm, and a great adventure, but I was stressed with all of my homework. It was such a stark difference to this weekend, where I wasn’t worried about much of anything. Only the day before my editor had approved one hundred and seventy-five photographs for my book and a huge sense of relief settled over the large chunk of my brain dedicated to worrying about deadlines and research and email correspondence.

This weekend, I was free. Free to do what I wanted. I still can’t quite get over that feeling, even though it’s been a year since I graduated. I can do whatever I want in my free time. It feels like such a luxury, still, after years of having practically every spare moment from September to May dedicated to something school related.

So I wrote. And read. For hours. Lounging out on the grass and on air mattresses (there’s no furniture in the house) and in lawn chairs on one of the many decks overlooking the lake. Besides boat traffic and water skiers, it was completely silent in my mom’s house and backyard. It was the perfect writing retreat. I got the last bit of tan for the summer. And I got three chapters written.

Per my usual writing process, I wrote each chapter out by hand first.

And then I typed them up, revising, adding, deleting, as I typed.

I could get used to this.


13 thoughts on “A Tiny Writer’s Retreat

  1. journeyofjordannaeast says:

    I’m so jealous! My husband’s family has a shore house about a block from the beach, but there’s no views. And it’s only quiet if you go during certain times. I still go there sometimes to write, but I would love a place I could go to year around.

    • hannahkarena says:

      A shore house! I’m jealous because that sounds closer, something you could run away to more often! The lake house was a tough 9.5 hour drive; I’ll be going there as often as I can, though, when my mom retires and I have holidays or long weekends. Counting down two more years until my next NC visit…

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