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Liveblogging My Year-End Retreat

Last week I mentioned to Shawn that maybe I could finish the draft of my novel in 2009 if I had an overnight retreat. So he booked me a night at a hotel for December 30, 2009. [Pause for you to take in how awesome my husband is].

Here’s the setup: I’m guessing I need to write about 7000 words to reach the end. That’s a tall order but not impossible. And I’m going to live-blog my attempt in order to build in some accountability.

So when I’m tempted to loll around in the bath or work on my resolutions for 2010, I will resist. The novel is Priority Number One. I know the end of the year is just an artificial deadline, but it gives me incentive to push hard and reach a milestone. So without further ado . . .

2:19 pm
Eating squash soup at Green Rebel while I wait for check-in time at the hotel. Once I post this, I’ll open up Scrivener and do some outlining for what’s left to write.

3:19 pm
Exactly one hour later! Freaky. I’m checked in and unpacked. Put on my wool socks, made some tea and turned up the heat. I have a great corner room with a big desk, paid for by credit card points.

I just had enough time to post at Green Rebel before I caught the bus, so I’m going to do that outlining now.

5:56 pm
Ordered room service so I wouldn’t have to go out in the cold to find dinner. I’ve been writing for a few hours now and it’s slow starting. I haven’t worked on the novel in a few weeks and I feel a little rusty. I’ve done 500 words so far and hopefully I can pick up the pace now that I’ve broken the ice.

9:19 pm
Le sigh. Took a longer dinner break than I should have. Finished one scene and most of another, for a running total of 1300 words. Hmm, I wonder how long I can keep going on coffee and minibar chocolate? I’m going to try a quick nap and then another writing session.

12:04 am
Another scene done, a little over 1000 words added to the total. I love it when I don’t know what’s going to happen and I discover it as I’m writing it down. I’m also really happy to be able to immerse myself in writing the ending and see it through.

I got a sweet email from Kelley at Sterling Editing, cheering me on. I read it just after I got up from my nap and was thinking about calling it quits for the night. Thanks for helping me stick with it, Kelley!

Now to arrange my wake-up call and then off to bed.

6:18 am
Just checking in to say I’m awake and ready to start again. It took me a while to fall asleep last night, my mind was too busy with the novel. (The mug of milk tea at 10:30 pm probably didn’t help either.) I even had to get up and make a few notes for a scene that played out in my head after I’d turned off the light.

I have three scenes to write today and one to finish. I’m guessing around 3000 words. Wow. After dinner last night the end seemed completely out of reach and now it’s in sight. I might just do this.

8:58 am
Breakfast time! I finished the hardest scene, hooray. The next one will be a cakewalk, it was already writing itself in my head while I showered. I might not be done the book by the time I have to check out, but I still have until midnight . . . .

11:31 am
Time to pack up. I’m so close! I did that cakewalk scene and have the final one sketched out. A few more hours this afternoon and I should be done.

I’m buzzing with lack of sleep and caffeine (how can hotel coffee be super-strong and tasteless at the same time?) and the satisfaction of hard work. Thanks for sticking with me.

8:45 pm
I’m done. I’m done. I’m done. Just wrote the last word of the manuscript, and it captures exactly how I feel.


I wrote a book in 2009. Booyah.

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  • Natalie December 31, 2009, 1:03 am

    You go girl! I’m with you!

  • Richard Gresik December 31, 2009, 10:02 am

    We are all following your blog Ali. We also are cheering you on to finish. You are amazing!!!
    Dad, Mom, Grandma and Grandpa here in Leamington

  • Natalie Morisset December 31, 2009, 12:20 pm

    Hurrah! And Happy New Year!

  • Brie January 1, 2010, 11:00 am

    Yay for you. Now, does this mean you are going to write two in 2010? 🙂 Just trying to keep you motivated!

  • Kelley January 1, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Congratulations!!! It’s one of the Best Feelings Ever. Booyah indeed!

  • Vicki January 5, 2010, 2:40 am

    Wow – awesome accomplishment! I’m sure 2010 will be filled with even more such feats!

  • Heather January 7, 2010, 5:44 pm

    I wish I’d checked your blog sooner — I’d have cheered too! Have to admit that as I was reading, the suspense was really building… Congratulations!! And yep, you do have a fab hubby. 🙂

  • Marie-Josée January 11, 2010, 11:44 pm

    Congratulations Alison!!!