“No special writing rituals. And my desk is usually cluttered.” – Stephen Greenblatt

I don’t need special pens or a specific drink; I’ve established no rituals critical to my writing process.  I simply sit with pen and paper or my laptop, writing whenever and wherever I can.  While my two young children played around me, I have written at parks or the indoor play space at our local mall.  I’ve edited chapters at Chuck E. Cheese.  Morning preschool has been incredible, providing me with almost three regular hours of writing time during most mornings of the week.

And yet, I found myself at a place with my novel where I needed long, uninterrupted time, with space to think critically about the novel’s structure and to implement changes suggested by my writing teachers at Johns Hopkins.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I took a two-night trip to Annapolis, where I holed up and poured undivided attention into my novel.  I chose Annapolis because it is under an hour’s drive away from our house in the D.C. suburbs, and for what it offered: a picturesque, small city on the Chesapeake Bay that was easy to navigate and could feed my soul in between the writing, through the city’s yoga, cafes, and good food.

My hotel room, with its perfect silence and the time completely uninterrupted by the needs of others, was a great place for making progress in my writing.  When I needed a change of scenery, I retreated to a café in Historic Annapolis, where I sipped tea at a small front window seat and drafted seven pages of a new scene.  In between all the writing, I stretched my body, which was feeling tight from hours spent huddled over a laptop, at Prana Yoga, and I fed myself well, including a delicious blackened tilapia with a pint of yummy pale ale at a busy restaurant by the water.

I don’t know when my next weekend away will take place, but the effects of this trip to Annapolis will carry with me for a long time, and I cannot wait to return.


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