On Retreat! (What ‘Writing Retreat’ Means to Me)

Hello September! I am very excited for this month (the arrival of which I have been anxiously awaiting) because . . . later this month the Ferrets go away on retreat!

Some of us have mentioned the Ferret Retreats before (there’s even a video from our last one, courtesy of Lissa) but I (Serena) have not really talked about the topic myself, and I am so happy to be going! We’ll be off together, five of us, to a cabin away from work and errands and housework and family and . . . well, pretty much everything except our writing and each other.

It's not quite time yet, but my bags are ready to pack and I'm raring to be off!

It’s not quite time yet, but my bags are ready to pack!

It seems from what they’ve said that what is really great as far as the other Ferrets are concerned is the getting away and having no/fewer distractions and being able to just write for days. That sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? For a while – a couple of years and several Ferret retreats – I tried very hard to have that same feeling myself.

Here’s the problem though: it doesn’t work for me.

That’s not to say I don’t absolutely love our retreats, of course! And it isn’t to say that they aren’t good for my writing, either; they really are. But they aren’t good for me, or enjoyable for me, in the same way what they seem to be for the other Ferrets. And that’s okay!
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Strengths and Weaknesses in Writing

What are my strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

Great question to ask. Sometimes hard to answer. Michelle and I had a great conversation about that recently, which led to this example.

We all struggle in one area or another. We all have gifts. Some aspects of writing come naturally to me, while others have knocked me down more times than I care to count.
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The Rabid Rainbow Ferrets, A Short (Short) Story

Once upon a time (one October), there were five writers.

These five writers decided to take a trip together.

This trip was to a writing conference. For three of them, it was their first writing conference.

They stayed in a cabin.

Five Writers & a Cabin

(For a while, they suspected they might be in a horror story.)

One night, they sat down to plot things, because NaNoWriMo would soon overtake them.


They shared a bottle of wine. And lots of story ideas.

Water is as good as vodka

And somehow, during the evening, there was a ferret.

Not a real ferret, but rather the idea of a ferret.

This ferret became rainbow-colored. And rabid. And it wore a fez.

When drawn, the ferret appeared to be wearing a potted plant, rather than a fez.

(This drawing has long been lost. It is a good thing.)

Then, these five writers realized that this Rabid, Rainbow Ferret was more than an idea.


It was them.

So an unbreakable sisterhood was born.

Unbreakable Sisterhood

Then, that NaNoWriMo, these five writers found a new sister.

They didn’t even realize they were missing a sister.

But when they found her, they couldn’t live without her.

All the Ferrets!

So they became six.

And then they went insane, and decided to share their insanity with the world.

Ferret Vacation

The Ferrets’ Favorite Vacation Spot