Monday, October 11, 2021

Writing Retreat on Sleepy Hollow Lake

I have technically been a writer since I was around 8 years old, when I first tried to submit something to Highlights Magazine and I was rejected. 

I Still Have My First Rejection Letter

If I remember correctly I was rejected with a form letter, so I replied with a follow up letter and the editor in chief wrote me this personalized letter thanking me for being so understanding. Apparently I was into persuasion and selling at a very early age!

So I have been a writer and a salesperson for roughly 43 years, but life has always gotten in the way and I've done a myriad of other things including, getting a couple of degrees, getting married, having a career, having a couple of kids, still having a career, getting divorced, co-parenting, being a lacrosse mom, etc... 

Now at 51 years old I am finally ready to get some serious writing done. Like serious writing.

I have been talking about going on a solitary writing retreat for literally five years or more. Well I finally did it! Last month I went to Goodrich, a little town north of Houston, right off 59 North and I stayed in an adorable cabin among a group of other lovely cabins owned by a lady named Sandy.

I found the Yellow Rose Cabin Bed and Breakfast when looking for a place to go, close to Houston. I thought at first that I was staying on Lake Livingston and only found out later that I was actually going to be southeast of Lake Livingston on another small lake called Sleepy Hollow. How fitting is that for a writing retreat setting? Especially when you are a woman, in a cabin, alone, near woods and a lake...

My Cabin- The Blue Bird

The Dining Room Where All the Writing Happened

I absolutely LOVED my little shot-gun cabin! It was just right for me. I slept in one bedroom and used the other bedroom as my dressing room. (Seriously, the front door opened and there was a straight path to the back door.)  I had a full sized kitchen and I ate all my meals there. I didn't want to leave at all, so I could concentrate on just writing, so it was perfect. I had a great porch in front and in the back, for drinking my morning coffee, meditating and journaling. 

The host was also amazing! Sandy runs a great bed and breakfast and is only a phone call away. She lives in the big house on the property, on the lake, and her very first cabin, the Yellow Rose is right next to her house. It has its own set of stairs that lead down to a small dock on the lake. She has a variety of sizes of cabins, with her biggest one being the Lake House that, true to its name, sits right on the lake. That one is perfect for a big party, like an extended family. You can see almost all of her cabins on her website.

I almost stayed in the Texas Rose and I'm so glad that Sandy called me the week I was scheduled to go, to ask me did I mind switching with someone who wanted to rent it for three weeks. Although the Texas Rose is very cute, it would have been a tiny cabin, the size of an efficiency apartment or smaller! That's why I'm glad I got to stay in the Blue Bird Cottage.

I loved the solitude and being near the lake. I liked the location so much that I want to go back with the kids to enjoy a boat ride on the lake and I want to stay in the Hen Den. It's not on her website yet, but you can see it on her Facebook page. The Hen Den is right next door to the Blue Bird and is a pretty red house.

Back to the writing retreat part! I wrote Friday night, all day Saturday, with a few breaks, and Sunday morning. All in all, I ended up writing 3,200+ words, plus I got some research done. It was definitely SO worth getting away from the distractions of my house and concentrating on writing my novel. I needed this kick start so much and I am now halfway through my first draft. 

Best of all, I found a great, affordable place I loved and that I'll be going back to again. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick weekend getaway, not too far from home. It's not fancy or luxurious. 

In fact, I encountered a big outside roach one night in the restroom! If you stay there you have to be open-minded and realize you are staying out in the country, near a lake and everything that comes with that. 😀