Our Rockin’ Daily Schedule
You may be wondering: Once I get there, What’s Our Daily Schedule?
Good question! Let’s break it down so you know what to expect. The short answer is this: Following dinner in town on Monday night (where you share who you are, why you’re here, what you’re working on, and what you want support on), you get several things EVERY day:
- A private 45-minute session with me (on the hour, with 15-minute breaks between each session so I can clear my mind and remain alert + fresh for the next person). I work fast and we cut to the heart of what you need. Want to prioritize your five projects so you’re no longer going crazy? We’ll do it! Outline the book you can’t seem to get nailed down because you’re too close? Love it! Edit the proposal you’ve already written? Fun! Talk, cry, delve into your fears so that you can believe in yourself already? I’m honored. Can’t wait! Or, we can do all of the above on consecutive days! (We don’t have individual sessions on Friday, but do still have group.)
- Several hours of group, where you read what you’re working on (or talk about what you’d like to work on, if you’re not yet ready and just want to brainstorm). Then, sit back and marvel as delicious, specific, brilliant feedback and encouragement comes flooding your way. Listen, too, as others read and get feedback on their work. You’ll learn so much through their various processes and projects. And, you’ll be amazed at the value you also have to offer, as each example widens your scope/perspective, up-levels your confidence, and sharpens your skills.
- Hours and hours of quiet writing time, inside our beautiful home or outside on the front or back stone patios. You can perch yourself overlooking the ocean, sit by the fireplace, wrap yourself up in a blanket on a couch or chair, sit at one of several desks, or at the sunny kitchen table, or tucked away in your room or in a new friend’s room. If being in town at a café inspires you, you can go on a field trip and park your beautiful self in a patisserie for a morning or afternoon. Whatever feeds your imagination and fills your creative well.
- DELICIOUS chef-prepared meals + snacks in the morning, and again at around noon and 6 pm. (Snacks and tea, coffee, and juices are always available.) All of your shopping, cooking, and dishes will be done for you! It’s time to sit back and relax and focus on your art. It’s time to RECEIVE and be pampered.
- Walks anytime (I go every day). But specifically, the most beautiful walk of your life on Thursday morning, no kidding (almost everyone tells me this—see photos below—taken by participant “great-eye Stacey Sargent”). We’ll walk trails along the coast at Point Lobos (a state marine reserve) or Monastery Beach (or both) to see the most breathtaking natural scenery and wildlife you can imagine. I’m talking gray, blue, and humpback whales; families of deer, often six feet away; sea otters eating on their backs; harbor & elephant seals barking to one another in busy, hilarious conversations; white cranes; brown pelicans; baby cows in the pasture next to the sea, and dogs running and smiling from one end of the sand to the other. The Cypress Grove forest looks like something out of Harry Potter (without the spiders), and remnants of Indian tribes are everywhere. The famed golf course at Pebble Beach is almost always in view in the distance (not too shabby, eh?). “Stunning” is an understatement. This is the perfect time and place to clear your mind with women you adore, and infuse your body with renewed energy for our final full writing day.
- Downtime, whenever you need it. If you want to take a break from your writing to nap, take nature walks, go shopping, etc., it’s all yours for the taking. This week is all about you and what you need to be your best creative self! (Interestingly, no matter how fried you are when you arrive it seems that the very act of giving yourself this gift energizes you. You just might find that you leave feeling like you’ve been at a spa instead of working hard on your craft.)
Even more specifically:
Arrive at the house between 4 & 6 P.M. Settle into your room, relax, nap (if you want), and freshen up for dinner. Our chef, Jen, will have delicious appetizers/h’orderves waiting for you in the kitchen, where we’ll snack and start to bond instantly (always happens, even the shy gals can’t help feelin’ giddy and excited). We’ll leave for dinner around 6:30 P.M., and head to downtown Carmel (about 5 minutes away) for my favorite restaurant, Il Fornaio. It’s nice/casual, so jeans are great. They have fantastic pasta, salads, soups, you name it. Dinner’s my treat, so order to your heart’s content.
Wake up whenever you like (before 9:00 A.M.), do any or all of the following: eat the gourmet breakfast Jen’s created (or fruit or oatmeal, etc.), shower, take a walk on the beach or in our hilly, stunning neighborhood, meditate, call your kids, etc.
9:00 A.M: The start of our first writing circle, where our “brain trust” officially begins (even though someone may already have dreamed of your project, and a new title for you last night).
Private sessions with me take place throughout the day in my 3rd floor room, with the most spectacular view (we have been known to stop for a minute to watch whales). Each day you’ll have one 45-minute session to go over anything you’d like (and that includes editing right on your laptop if desired).
Noon – 1:00 P.M: Lunch is served! Prepared by our chef. Ahhh. (You can keep working if you’d like, or stop and chat with all of us, as it’s always a fun time to laugh, relax, and savor the beautiful meal together.)
1:00-6:00 P.M: More of the same—writing, reading brainstorming, and private sessions. (Coffee, tea, and snacks are always on hand.)
Dinners are light by popular past request… being weighed down, we’ve found, isn’t the best for anyone’s creative mojo. We often light a fire in the fireplace and eat there. You can also go out, if you’d like. (We’ve never had anyone leave to go to dinner; people always want to keep working and hanging out and chatting, but you’re certainly free to.) We have loads of food around the house—so be sure and tell us what you love. This is our one free night to do whatever you want, including write! I’ve been known to plop down with my own laptop on one of the cozy couches and write this evening too—pretending that I’m a participant at my own writing retreat. God that’s fun!
Wednesday: All the moving parts of Tuesday’s schedule, but flipped, with group at night. We start our private sessions at 10:00 am and go later into the evening with our group reading + brainstorming session after dinner. Group in the evening allows you to write all day and let your creativity breathe and develop before sharing with others. We should be done around 9:30 or 10:00 P.M. (when I go to bed so that I can still put two sentences together the next day), but I often hear laughter late into the night while I try to get some shuteye (smiley… I love that sound).
Thursday: Following our magical Point Lobos walk (photos above from those walks!) and sumptuous breakfast, we’ll start a little later, but have the same schedule as Wednesday. Our evening session will end around 11:00 P.M, but again, as I drift off to giggling, I always hear tales the next morning of ladies staying up far, far later as if they’re at a middle-school sleep over or something (of course sharing stories about BOYS and/or juicy love + relationship details!).
You get up and do whatever you want—walk, talk, eat, shower, write… We gather at 9:00 for breakfast and our last love-fest brainstorming session at 9:30. We leave our retreat haven at noon. (If we stay past then, the maids will push us out, as the house is so beautiful that groups are always scheduled to roll in Friday afternoon for the weekend. They’ve got to get it all spiffed up and ready to go. Poop on them. Ha!)
As for food, our divine local chef, Jennifer Filice, will contact you a few weeks ahead of time to ask about any dietary restrictions, or special needs and/or cravings you have. We’re a health conscious group and have lots of organic, healthy food around (never skimping on taste), but do enjoy her amazing deserts. If you’re a vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, gluten intolerant, allergic or anything else, she’s got you covered so that you can relax!
After the retreat:
Remember, you have two hours with me once you’re ready back home. And, you’re never far from your writing gals, as you leave with all their deets (assuming they’ve shared, which has always been the case—just try not to love these ladies when you leave!) and a link to your new Facebook retreat page (again, the norm). In other words, this is never goodbye. Our bonds continue to deepen and the love (and celebration for publishing successes + book deals) goes on. I’m in your corner—a lifer—and it’s not uncommon for me to be giving you advice on your agent &/or publishing contract first thing in the am or late at night, answering “is this normal?” questions about the industry, and even being the go-between or interpreter for you with your new publishing team if and when you need me. I love this stuff (is it obvious?)! xx