I was accepted last month for a week-long residency at the Rockvale Writers’ Colony, and am halfway through my week here now. It’s the first real writers’ retreat I have ever done.

I’m here with four other writers, though one is in the Granary (a separate building) and another lives in town and comes here during the day sometimes, so I have only seen each of them once. It’s extremely quiet (the cows at the farm down the road are the loudest thing around) and peaceful. The owner has put affirmations everywhere, which is charming, and there are a bunch of horses, at least two barn cats, and several hiking trails (today, walking the Perimeter Trail, I saw six deer). The rooms each have their own en suite bathroom. You provide your own food, but there’s an enormous kitchen and a simple color-coding sticker system for not getting your food mixed up with anybody else’s. They offer courses, but I’m not here during one, so it’s a very self-contained experience.

My general schedule has been to get up around 7 am, get a small breakfast and a tea, and write until 11 am or noon, eat something and walk one of the trails, and then come back and write until supper, then relax and write or not as I feel like it in the evening.

To prep for the week, I had made a lot of disconnected notes on my phone’s notes app whenever I thought of something and I had storyboarded out a chapter. So far, I’ve written maybe 3,000 words and edited/expanded upon another 3,000 or so from notes. I’ve also (I think) worked out some of my story issues. I still have tomorrow and Saturday to write, so I’m feeling really good about this.

I would definitely recommend this place to any writer who needs a week (or longer) away for focused time away from other responsibilities. They operate year-round and are an hour’s drive from Nashville.

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