Having a best friend who lives an hour away can sometimes be problematic when working around both of your busy schedules. We often find ourselves longing for more time together despite spending every Monday night on either FaceTime or Zoom, writing together, checking in, and just being silly together sometimes.
This year, my best friend, Jamie, turned 40. I remembered my own time turning 40 and how depressing at the time it seemed – all of the things I had hoped to accomplish that I didn’t, all of the big hopes and dreams I had seemed to be no more, and I found myself feeling very alone. I knew that when it came time for her to hit this monumental birthday, she shouldn’t have to enter the day alone so, enter the writers’ retreat, a chance for the two of us to run away for a few days, force ourselves to sit in a hotel room and write the novels we started during NaNoWriMo 2022 to get back on track for our first draft goals.
I knew I wanted the week special for her, so I snuck into the hotel room early and got to work decorating it for her 40th. Nothing screams hello 40 like giant black balloon numbers and table decor that serves as a reminder that 40 is here. Complete with a cake and decorative plates, the room seemed ready.
The first night we didn’t have much time; we ate dinner, had some cake, and relaxed while watching a chick flick marathon on tv. What better way to kick off a writers’ retreat for two romance authors than a chick flick marathon?!
The next day we spent some time in the indoor pool, one of my favorite things to do is float in pools; it helps clear my mind, staring up at the sky (or in this case, the ceiling) while allowing my thoughts to run. Just spending time in the water was getting my creative juices flowing – would my main character do this, would she be a swimmer, or perhaps she’d avoid the pool altogether?
After swimming, we headed back up to the hotel to shower and get the day going with writing. I’ll admit, the moment I sat at the keyboard, it was like a flip had switched, and I was all over the place. Oh my, I struggled that day and had a hard night of little to no sleep. The next day I pushed through to finish the final chapter and even wrote those incredible words – The End. (However, looking back now, it should be To Be Continued…)
It felt good having a rough draft somewhat completed – I still have a few chapters I need to add in the beginning to make it a complete rough draft. We took photos together on our last full day in the hotel wearing our NaNoWriMo 2022 Winners shirts, something we wanted to do but hadn’t yet had time to do.
Jamie’s birthday was the following day. After we checked out of the hotel, we adventured to the Salt Rooms for some Halotherapy and relaxation before parting ways.
If you’ve never been to a Salt Room for Halotherapy, I highly recommend it. It was very relaxing, and I left feeling like I could breathe a little better and perhaps even sleep the rest of my day away. Taking time out for yourself is crucial to recharge.
I am already missing our time together, Jamie. May you know how incredibly amazing you are and never doubt for a single moment your talent, your worth, & your purpose. I am beyond thankful that I get to do life with you in it, I love that we are on this journey into authorship together, and I love watching you grow as an author. You are and forever will be Jamie Wordsmith to me, you have a way with words that not many do, and you always know how to tell a story that touches the heart and warms the soul. I cannot wait to read your novel. I’m your biggest fan!
Until next time, Shonda
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