Today is Day 3 of my impromptu urban writing retreat. So far, it has been a pretty awesome experiment.
On Monday, I met my friend George at the New York Public library on 5th Ave. We’d intended to work in one of my favorite spaces, the Rose Reading Room, but (naturally) that part of the library was closed for renovations. Fortunately, it was a beautiful fall day, so we relocated to Bryant Park, grabbed a table under a sun umbrella and chilled out for a couple hours. I worked on revising my novel and tried not to get stung by a crazy bee. Later we headed down to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe to hear a reading and panel discussion by Lev Grossman, Lauren Buekes, and Jeff Vandermeer.
Yesterday I decided to stay in-borough and risk the perils of invading a hipster paradise. I put on my best rolled up jeans and my most ironic army jacket and headed to Brooklyn Roasting Company in DUMBO. I can see why all the hipsters want to keep this place for themselves. It’s awesome. The space is huge and there’s a lot of seating (still, I had to really hunt for a free table). I scored a fab spot on the bar along the front window looking out over the East River. There was good tea, lots of light, plenty of background buzz, and super-tasty donuts. I wrote 2500 words on a new short story.
Today I’m meeting George again. Our plan is try the fabled Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel. We figure if we get there early we can beat the start-up kids who supposedly camp out there. If it sucks…well, stay tuned!
So far, the best thing about the urban writing retreat isn’t that I’m getting lots of writing done (though, I am being quite productive). It’s that I’m being reminded what an amazing city I live and how many wonderful things I have available to me for the swipe of a Metrocard and cost of a donut 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, I have a proper home office (which basically is the elusive unicorn of NYC housing), but a change of scenery can be invigorating. This week has been a great reminder of that.
The college where I teach is closed next week for the Jewish holidays, so I have an entire five days to devote solely to my writing! Yay!
To make the most of this, I’m planning an Urban Writing Retreat for myself. The idea is to have all the perks of a writing retreat without spending a bunch of money or leaving my home city (NYC).
In doing research over the last few days, I’ve discovered (perhaps unsurprisingly) that there are some fantastic places to write for free (or for the price of a latte) in the city.
From indie cafes in DUMBO, Greenwich village, and SoHo to some of New York’s many wonderful libraries (the Rose Reading Room at the NYC Public Library and Poet’s House) to less conventional locations like the lobby of the Ace Hotel, I’ve got a really fun schedule lined up. And, naturally, I’ll have to take breaks for lunch and will need delicious fare to sustain me. Good thing NYC has so many awesome restaurants!
My writing goals for the retreat are to finish a short story to submit to the Paradise ICON writing workshop I’m attending in October and to get as close as possible to finishing the version of Project Awesome I’ll send to Beta readers.
I’m so excited!
Ugh, where to begin? It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but also a great couple of weeks (isn’t life just like that sometimes?).
Between finishing up my last hectic trip of the summer (to a wonderful, wonderful wedding in Charleston), getting sick with some sort of sad hybrid cold/stomach bug thing, starting the semester, and having my costochondritis flare up in the worst way (think clavicle literally pulling away from sternum…ouch!), I am feeling a little worn around the edges (or delirious, depending on whether or not I’m taking my yummy painkillers).
After a summer of lovely but disruptive travel, I finally have time to devote to my writing again and I’m feeling inspired and eager to work. My goals for the fall are to work on writing faster and with less hesitation. There will be new words every day, even revision and editing days. I will not allow myself to agonize over first drafts (as is my wont) and I will take a deeper dive into emotion and creativity. I will experiment more with short stories and drive forward more aggressively with my novel projects.
So, that’s the plan. Time to get to work.