Deadline Met: Report on a Solitary Writing Retreat

writing-retreat-houseMystery writer M.K. Coker came to Windbreak House Retreats for a solitary retreat in October, finishing the next book in the terrific Dakota Mystery series in time for a November deadline. This report about the experience (printed with M.K.’s permission) ought to encourage every single writer: 1,000 words on the day of arrival!

Almost as soon as I arrived for my solitary retreat, I found the distractions of ordinary life– the insistent and unceasing demands of phones, Internet, and the never-ending to-do list– disappeared. I was able to write a thousand words on my novel that very afternoon before a scheduled get-together with Linda’s bookclub.

As it was the first time I’ve ever been on the hot seat as an author, I was a bit nervous but the informal potluck was just the right introduction to the bewildering world of fans. They asked probing questions, ones I hadn’t expected, such as whether I would go back and write the many books I had once started years ago and never finished (the answer: for the most part, no, I’d moved on). The only bad part of the evening was that I was so busy answering questions that I didn’t get to eat until it was all over! So I wasn’t able to thank them personally for the excellent repast.

The next several days, I was able to get down to work and pumped out about five thousand words on most days, with some thinking time when I hit snags. Daily walks from the retreat house to the highway kept my brain supplied with oxygen– and beauty.

barn-sunset-by-mk-coker-2016-10-14

Sunset — photo by M.K. Coker

A truly spectacular sunset over the Hills and a giant moon-set the morning that I left reminded me of what I often forget in town: Nature is the best inspiration. And a meeting with Linda to talk about the life of a writer was something I will always treasure, as I have no one in my life who truly understands that aspect of my life.

Without this retreat, I have no doubt that I would have missed my editing date. But I made it, by the skin of my teeth!

If you haven’t yet read a book by this author, you’re way behind. Get acquainted with Detective Marek Okerlund and Sheriff Karen Mehaffy and the fictional Eda County in southeastern South Dakota, that “bastion of corn, beans, wheat, bluffs, and rivers.” Every word, every scene, every community activity, rings absolutely true.

mk-coker-five-books

Start with the first in the series, and by the time you’ve read all those available now, the new one should be out. First is Dead White, followed by Dead Dreams, Dead Wrong, Dead Quiet, and Dead News.

mkcokerdeadhotAnd in March of 2017, look for number six: Dead Hot.

 

Linda M. Hasselstrom
Windbreak House Writing Retreats
Hermosa, South Dakota

© 2016, Linda M. Hasselstrom

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Read my “Book Remarks” blog about M.K. Coker’s Dakota Mystery series here:
https://windbreakhouse.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/dead-in-dakota-the-mysteries-of-mk-coker/

Find M.K.Coker’s website here:
http://www.mkcoker.com/

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