Dreaming of a Private Writing Retreat

Have you ever wanted to escape? I don’t mean to a holiday destination. That would be nice, of course, but I’m thinking more of somewhere free of distractions and responsibilities where you can focus entirely on your writing.

Recently my writing friend Joylene Butler said that if she ever “hit it big” she’d need an office outside the home so while she wrote she could avoid being sidetracked by the ever-present household chores.

It made me think of a post last year by Dave Ebright. He once visited Hemingway’s home and found his way out to the separate writing annex. His observation: “This is something all writers need. A separate building on one’s property devoted entirely to writing, preferably overlooking a pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens.”

I don’t imagine every writer aspires to an isolated office but I love the idea. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the blessing of my current space. I know many would give… I was going to say their right arm, but that’s a ridiculous cliché for a writer, so maybe their first-born… to have a room in their house set aside just for writing. But I like to dream.

My dream writing space would be in a small outbuilding tucked away in the woods behind our house, with a view of the beaver pond. It would be a spot where the sounds of God’s natural world would encourage my creative thoughts, unlike the household sounds of telephone, doorbell, and laundry timer that compete with them.

I discovered this wonderful Japanese teahouse and could easily imagine it as my getaway spot. Then again, for seasons other than summer I might need rainproof walls and a little pot bellied stove or fireplace to keep fingers and toes toasty. But if I’m dreaming I might as well choose ideal weather, too.

If money were no object what would your perfect writing retreat look like?

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12 thoughts on “Dreaming of a Private Writing Retreat

  1. EB White has a small shed-like thing out back on his property, too. I’d love it. Just a small room, cozy and focused, to where I could escape. Absolutely.

    Happy weekend, Carol!

  2. Erica Vetsch says:

    I would love a little building that looked like a prairie schoolhouse. With a cupola. And a bell.

  3. I don’t have a special place but my office chair faces two huge windows side by side covering almost the entire wall of the room. Outside three treetops stand tall with green leaves resisting the breeze and blue sky peeping through the branches. I may never possess a special room or building, but I am grateful for this inspiring view.

  4. patti says:

    Hmmm. Last year I wanted hubby to buy me a HOUSE about a block away, one of those Craftsman style, 2 teeny brs., one family room, one bath, and an acre yard! Yes, a writing retreat.

    He said no.

    Sigh. My office is quite a nice place!!! Photos, lots of windows, all my book friends.
    God is good!

    Blessings, dear one,
    Patti

  5. joylene says:

    The teahouse works for me! In fact, I can move in anytime. Thanks, Carol!

  6. Laura Best says:

    I have a BIG office, but rarely write there. Usually I’m in the living room on my laptop with noise and distractions , but to tell the truth I don’t presently have a dream writing space in mind. Sounds a bit weird when I put it like that.

  7. Dave Ebright says:

    Thanks for the link! We’re still planning on having the “out” building built, something with a nautical theme. It’ll have to wait until I’m home more than 4 days per month. I do like the porch idea.

    • It really couldn’t be anything but a nautical theme given the focus of your writing, could it? It may be a while before you can get to the actual building, but I’ll bet there’s lots of doodling going on while it’s in the planning stage and that’s part of the fun.

  8. I wrestled with this question this past winter. We are purchasing land and have designed our “dream” home. I knew I wanted a separate studio but I also like to pop in to write at unexpected hours and sometimes for short periods. I ended up creating a space off to itself in the upstairs, separated by a stairwell and a “swing” room (whatever that means!) from my kids bedrooms and a screened in porch that overlooks a courtyard. Both my children are closer to leaving home than staying so as soon as they are gone, the whole of the upstairs will consist of guest rooms and my studio space, tucked into its own little corner. A nice compromise, I think. The husband took the former route, though, and has created a two-story office with the downstairs devoted to storage, kennels, and animal-care stuff and the upstairs his private space.

    Now to just build these lovely spaces this coming year!

  9. I’m just getting caught up on everyone’s comments. I love hearing your different ideas on what constitutes an ideal writing spot. Kelly, I’ll bet you’ve spent many hours dreaming and designing. I hope you’ll be posting pictures of the building progress during the year.

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