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Treasured Times – A Writing Retreat

By Jean Willett


Come in, sit by the fire and let me tell you about my weekend. A lonely cabin in the mountains called out in need of comfort and company. Heeding the cry, Cabins for You offered a group of writers a chance to visit for a retreat. Of course, how could I refuse an invitation to the mountains in Pigeon Forge, TN, where the little cabin rested just waiting for us to come along and spin tales of love and loss, magical moments and dangerous liaisons?


I gathered my writing gear, tossed in some warm clothes and headed north. Treasured Times opened its door to five writers who entered to find lovely gifts, comfortable rooms and quiet time. I know I desperately needed the time to recharge my creative well and having the opportunity was a gift. The little cabin on the hillside, a blessing.


I shared stories, laughed, ate a hodge-podge of meals and found my story again. The three floors of the cabin offered views of the mountains, cubbies to sit and think and warm cozy beds for sleep. We all found time for laptops and index cards, pens and paper. I loved our chats about plot and character and industry woes. The few days of uninterrupted creative time left me with renewed energy to plunge into my story with my imagination set free.


We hunkered down as a cold front moved in bringing with it a hint of snow. I quieted my mind and let inspiration run free. The scattered pieces of my plot were there like a puzzle just needing a nudge into shape.



I woke to find snow on the ground and in the air. The bracing cold air whooshed through the door to revitalize my spirit. Maybe the handsome young man sliding down the slope of a too steep driveway might end up in a story. Or maybe the glimpse of a black bear ambling by on an inquisitive quest could be the beginning of a heroine’s dash for safety. Whatever the inspiration, my mental wheels enjoyed the moment.


Writing retreats are wonderful ways to find your creative bubble and set it afloat. How about a favorite routine that helps you sink into your story? Have you escaped for a retreat? Do you have a favorite place where you can set your imagination free?


Consider Cabins for You and especially Treasured Times, my special cabin on the hillside.

Donnell - March 4, 2013 - 7:53 am

So glad you got to go! Looks like a wonderful place that filled you with inspiration. Hope you took your jacket! Love writers retreats. Sometimes we go to a friend’s home. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A change of scenery can be an amazing muse.

Jan - March 4, 2013 - 8:36 am

Oh Jean, what a lovely post. Writing retreats are as magical as you described them. There’s a retreat center here in town comprised of three old cabins. My critique partners and I escape there at least three times a year. I swear, the setting and being separated from “all things home” sparks my muse!

Diana Belchase - March 4, 2013 - 11:14 am

Nice post, Jean! I tweeted and facebooked!


Lizbeth Selvig - March 4, 2013 - 1:43 pm

Oh, Jean, this sounds so wonderful! My critique partners and I went on a short retreat to northern Minnesota last summer and are planning one this year as well. But the best retreat I’ve ever attended was one in South Carolina in 2011 — six days in an ocean side “mansion” with ten other writers. It was called a “hermit week” — so from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. we were on our own to find those cubby holes in which to write, walk the beach, brainstorm quietly with another person or whatever we needed to keep our creative selves working. In the evenings we socialized. It was heavenly. And that’s what your experience sounded like–only with mountains, which are definitely the best haven-makers around as far as I’m concerned! Glad you went and refilled your well!

Liz Flaherty - March 5, 2013 - 5:32 am

This sounds heavenly. I haven’t been on a retreat, but I want to!

Sheri de Gromm - March 5, 2013 - 11:46 am

Peaceful accommodations and the right mix of fellow writers – it sounds perfect in every detail.

Marilyn Baron - March 6, 2013 - 2:39 pm

What a wonderful retreat. I’m so sorry I missed it. The place looks fabulous.

Kari - March 7, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Sounds like a WONDERFUL retreat. This is exactly what I think of when I think of a writer’s retreat. I have never thought of the group setting, but I think it would be a little more motivational to have others doing the same thing you are and keeping you honest.

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