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IWSG - February: My Writing Retreat

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for February.  
For more information about the group, see the bottom of this post. 

Alex's awesome co-hosts for February are:
Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, 
and Mike Swift!   
 Please stop by their blogs and say thank you.

For Christmas this year, hubby gave me a two night stay at the Omni in Houston. He dropped me off and picked me up--even encouraged me to order room service. Needless to say, I took that gift and ran. *grin*

I holed myself up in the spacious, king-size room and wrote. No laundry. No dishes. No screeching my WIP to a halt and leaving a scowling muse glaring at my back to go cook supper. Let me tell you, it was heaven. I kept whatever hours I wished and only left my room to fetch ice.

I took a few pictures while I was there. Wanna see?

Nice, right?


 This chair was as comfortable as it looks.
And all the lamps had dimmer switches.

The most important thing. :)

This was the view from my window.

(I cropped and enlarged the Houston skyline a bit.) 

 That's not all smog. It's dirt on the outside of the window, 
the only part of my room that wasn't spotlessly clean.

The bathroom.

Swoon. Yeah. I know.
But wait...

 No, you're not seeing things. 
The dark spot on the wall is a phone.

This was waiting for me (as well as a stocked mini bar in the cabinet). 
Still, I'm glad I brought my own beverages and snacks.

I don't travel much and, I'm not ashamed to say, was on a budget. That's where the 'insecurity' part comes in.

This was a *nice* hotel--the nicest I'd ever stayed in. I was definitely out of my league. I made sure to take plenty of small bills, and I Googled hotel tipping before leaving home to get a clue of what was expected. I may not have done everything right, but I don't think I made a total fool of myself.

And--finally--after two long years, I finished the first draft of my current WIP! :D

Of course, that led to other plans, which led to even more insecurities. I won't have any trouble coming up with post content for IWSG anymore. In fact, there aren't enough first Wednesdays.


Thinking of going on a writing retreat of your own?
Here are some tips...
  • Choose off-season times of the year. It can save you money on reservations. 
  • You won't get much writing done on check-in or check-out day, so take that into consideration when planning the length of your stay.
  • Unless you like writing in your lap, you'll be spending lots of time at a desk. Make sure the room has one, as well as a comfortable chair.
  • Wi-fi is a nice amenity, too. Be clear on whether it's available in each room or just the main lobby. Sometimes it's available by request, for a fee.
  • That said, be careful what you use it for. Treat it like you would guest wireless at Mickey D's. (I wouldn't log-on to my bank there.)
  • Be sure to take all your necessary gadgets and their charging cords.
  • Have a plan and set some ground rules for yourself. You're there to relax--true--but you'll feel better if you also get something done. Make a list of things you'd like to accomplish (even if it's only in your head) and keep social media to a minimum. Close tempting tabs in your browser if that's what it takes.
  • If you're on a budget, pack some beverages and snacks in your bag. For this trip, I ordered breakfast and supper, then snacked on my stash of goodies during the middle of the day. Heck, when I write, I lose track of time and forget to eat anyway.
  • And (though some of you may laugh at me for including this) be sure to take your hotel key card with you when you set so much as a foot outside your door. The first morning, when I bent down to pick up my knock-and-leave-it-outside-my-door breakfast tray, the door closed behind me. I was way thankful for the key card in my pocket 

Thanks for stopping by. :)

To tweet about this post, click the little blue birdie. 

Tweet: A tale of one writer's hotel writing retreat, complete with pictures and #tips. via @MelissaMaygrove #IWSG

IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link at the top of the post or go to the IWSG website. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list. 


  1. Oooh, I admit, I'm drooling a little! What a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Great list of tips too. Nothing more frustrating than missing a charger on a retreat like this.
    I can't wait to get a peek of your wonderful story. Congrats on finishing!!

  2. Oh what a treat. Your hubby is amazing! Love the pics, tips and congrats again on finishing that first draft. I swear it's the hardest one to get through. I'd love to go on a writing retreat like that, but the closest I can get is writing at the local coffee shop on Tuesdays. Better than nothing I guess. :)

  3. Nice pictures! Glad you got to finish your WIP! What a great gift!

  4. YAY!!! You're back!!! I'm so glad :)

    That trip sounds absolutely perfect. And wonderful. What an amazing, thoughtful gift. And you know we're all writers, because non-writers would read that and think, "Holed up in a hotel all day??? Why would you want to do that?" And I think "OMG I WANT THAT NOW!" LOL.

  5. Oh wow! What a fabulous gift. And a big congrats on finishing your draft. Woot!!

  6. Wow you lucky dog! What a wonderful hubby. Looks absolutely fabulous!

  7. What a wonderful present! Would love to go on a writing retreat myself, except I'd probably not get any writing done and just go sight-seeing. LOL. Glad to hear you really got some work done though. Way to go!

  8. What a lovely gift for your husband to give you. I love staying in hotels. for all the people around you it's a nice private stay and yes, you can get a lot done in a hotel room. I love the fact that someone else does the cleaning and food. I've done a lot of work for jobs and writing in a hotel.

    Nice list of tips.

    I'd like to do a retreat but I'm not sure I want to do a hotel the next time. Maybe a cabin on one of the lakes. That would be nice and quiet too. :-) Tips would work for that too--like wi-fi etc.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  9. That was really nice of him! Yeah, take your own drinks and snacks. Much cheaper. And there are plenty of places you could go to get away from it all.

  10. WOW!!! That was a great gift! I want one like that puleeeze. I'm glad you could finish that draft and you had such a good time. At least I have Mother Dragon's garden, just no room service. :) Dragon Hugs!

  11. What a great gift. I did a weekend writing retreat in Austin a few months ago, but I didn't do my research on the hotel, first. Big mistake, but I did end up finding a really cool coffee shop overlooking the valley. I got a lot done and am planning to do this for myself at least once a year.

  12. Fancypants! I know absolutely nothing about fancy hotels, so you'll have to school me on tipping ettiquette someday—preferably after we're rich and famous. LOL

    Glad you had fun!

  13. What a wonderful present for your husband to give you! Loved the phone in the bathroom.
    Congratulations on completing your WIP.
    I was able to take advantage of a week-paid-for condo for a personal writing retreat when someone was unable to make their trip to Maui (another benefit of living in Honolulu!)

  14. I'll never admit it to my wife, but on the few occasions I have to go out of town for work related reasons, I do enjoy having lots of time in the hotel room to work on my manuscript in the evenings.

    Hmmm... should I be happy for you now that you have all these new insecurities to post about?

  15. What a beautiful gift! The place looks divine.

    I would love to have that experience, too.

    The Musings of a Hopeful and Pecunious Wordsmith

  16. That looks FANTASTIC! I don't think I've stayed in a hotel that nice before. Way to go Melissa's Hubby!

  17. I'm so jealous you got to do this, you have no idea! How thoughtful, awesome, and sweet of him. I say he's a keeper :D

    Yay for finishing that draft!

  18. Wow. Your husband really loves you, doesn't he? And that's phone-in-the-bathroom-hotel love. Nothing but writing sounds like the best kind of vacation.

  19. Oooooh, nice. Kinda jealous here. :P I'm glad that worked out so well for you - I've stayed in a hotel room by myself before, and I found it so unspeakably lonely, I couldn't wait to be done with it. O_o

  20. Wow, your hubby is a superstar! What a special treat. I loved your tips. I'm not much of a traveler, unless you count our motorhome on road trips filled with kids and dogs. I'm glad you finished your manuscript!

  21. Omni thinks of everything, comfy chair, awesome view, phone in bathroom in case someone stalks you and you need to lock up in the bathroom and forget your cell...OK I just love this post. Your hubby is a superstar. Big time.

    ---Greetings from a February IWSG Cohost

  22. I need a writer's retreat! Thanks for sharing!!

  23. What a great retreat! I'm glad you go so much done, and the room looks gorgeous! :)

  24. That's awesome! What a fantastic, thoughtful gift!

  25. Dang, Melissa, what an excellent post! Thorough, entertaining, had everything about planning (and witnessing—covet, covet, covet) a writer's getaway. Loved the pictures, and what a beautiful place! Chuckle on your reaction to the phone in the bathroom—girl, you ain't in the sticks no more. These outhouses have phones!

    Glad you're back! And what wonderful progress you made while away. So happy that first draft is out of your hair.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

  26. had a wonderful time. I'm same-too shy in person and always worrying about things.

    Great post.


  27. What a great, supportive hubby you have. I'm afraid that if I stayed in a great place like that, I'd find the movie channels, order room service, loll around the big bed, and forget all about the WIP! lol

  28. What a fantastic gift! Congratulations on finishing your wip. My writer's group does a 3 day writing retreat every year. It's paradise!

  29. Perfectly wonderful! It made me want to hire a hotel for a few nights. Room service, lovely view, room I wouldn't have to maintain. Yes.

  30. I've done that too and it's PERFECT. I can recommend this to every writer.

  31. I have never gone on one but I really want to one day

  32. What a wonderful gift! It's sad but I think I drooled the most over the pic of the bathroom LOL. Well, maybe not the phone by the toilet...

    Congratulations on finishing your draft. Yay!!! :)


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