I’m not sure why, but for me, Wildacres Conference Center is the spot where my creative brain perks up and gets busy, the place that not only makes me want to write, but helps me remember how to write well. Maybe it’s the fact that, when I go there, I’m surrounded by other writers who inspire me, whose work encourages me to raise the bar for my own writing. Or maybe it’s just the lack of distraction that Wildacres affords; when you’re on the mountain, there’s no TV, no newspaper, spotty cell phone coverage, and — at least in my previous visits — no real internet access. (They now have a wireless network in the lobby.) Even when I wanted to goof off, I’d end up going back to the computer and trying to write because the easy time-wasters weren’t available to me. And of course, being away from home, you don’t have housework or paying work or family demanding your attention, and you don’t have to cook meals or do laundry or any of the other little things that steal away your time on a daily basis. You can just write: it’s all you’re there to do. And after going there over and over again, my brain remembers it and pops into writing gear with little fuss as soon as I sit down at a desk.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to get there, but I miss it — not just the location, but the luxury of having nothing to do but write, and that feeling of knowing that I’m at my creative best. I keep saying “I’ll go next year.” I hope next year I can actually live up to that promise.
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