I Went to a Writing Retreat Without My Laptop and Survived

by Pamela S. Meyers


A log cabin writers
retreat
…the words jumped out of my computer screen as if to say, “Do
it!”  The picture of the cabin drew me in.
Spending a late autumn weekend in a cabin in my beloved
native Wisconsin woods sounded like a great way to plot a storyline for the
sequel to my new book.

The cabin was located about a three-hour drive from my
suburban Chicago home. Just far enough to feel like I really was away from
it all. I claimed one of the three bedrooms offered and made plans to attend.
I was told that Internet connection would be spotty but I could
drive to a nearby town to check for emails. Important since I was in constant communication with my editor for an upcoming book. The plans for the weekend were made.
I’d attend my Bible study the morning of my departure, then after lunch make
the drive to the cabin. Little did I know that the Chicago Cubs would clench
the World Series title the night before and I’d be awake until after two
a.m. thanks to my over-exuberant neighbors’ celebrations. Regardless, I had to
be up at the crack of dawn for responsibilities at the Bible study. No sleeping in for me.
That afternoon, with my eyelids at half mast, I hopped on
The I-90 Tollway and began my trek north. By the time I crossed the state line
into Wisconsin a little more than an hour later, my adrenalin took over.
The sight of the rolling Wisconsin hills, some still wearing autumn’s glorious
colors of reds and yellows, helped to regain clarity of mind. I couldn’t wait to
sit with my laptop and be inspired as I tapped away on the keyboard and the plot began
to emerge.
Then the thought hit me.
I’d left my laptop
at home. I don’t know how I knew without looking, but I did. Praying I was
wrong, I pulled off at the next exit and found a place to park. My computer bag
was not in the car. Which also meant my phone charger wasn’t in the car
either. 
I’d gone too far to turn around, so my only option was to
keep going. I did pack a notebook and a pen
for my devotions. And I could use them to scribble out ideas. Isn’t that how
authors of old wrote? As for the phone charger, I’d have to find a Walmart or
similar store. I turned it all over to God. If anything I could enjoy walks in the woods while the others wrote on their laptops.
Within minutes I spotted the familiar blue and white Walmart sign and pulled off at the next exit.

By now the sun was quickly setting and I’d
have to hurry if I didn’t want to be searching for a cabin in the Wisconsin
woods in the dark. I raced into the store and scurried the electronics
department. By then sleep deprivation had returned, and I could barely get the
words out to a rather disinterested clerk that I needed a phone charger. Stumbling over
my words, I explained I was sleep deprived from being up too late watching
the World Series. 

She gave me a blank stare and said she never watched sports.
I picked out what I needed and as we walked to the cash register I said, “Here
I am going to a writers retreat and I left my computer at home. What writer
does that?” I received another blank stare. Something we always joke about at
writing conferences popped into my mind. Remember, we aren’t the only ones in
the hotel. The other guests are “normals.” At least I didn’t tell her I was
coming to Wisconsin to plot how to kill someone off.

I made it to the cabin at dusk and stepped into a beautiful,
cozy room, complete with a large stone fireplace—perfect. Later, when I stepped
into my bedroom I was pleased to find a welcome bag containing a notebook and
pen. I wouldn’t need to use my prayer journal.
The next day, after some instruction on characterization, I
sat down with the notebook and pen and before long, I had a couple great plot
points for my hero. The endorphins kicked in and I wrote at characterizing my character for at least an hour. By
the end of the second day, I had a great start on putting a plot together and
had driven into town and took pictures of a unique old building I might use in
a story. Amazingly, I hadn’t missed my computer at all.

God taught me a lesson I should have known. Even when it
seems I am ill equipped, I really am not because the One who called me to this
gig called writing is always with me and He will provide using whatever is available.
In my case it was a pen and notebook and nothing more.

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A native
of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago
with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love and her 1933
historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Her novella. What Lies Ahead, is part of a novella collection, The Bucket List Dare, which is now
available at Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Second Chance Love from Bling!, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing
of the Carolinas, will release in January 2017. When she isn’t at her laptop
writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and
other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.