I’m writing from a house on Cayuga Lake, where I’m on a writers’ retreat with some friends. Here’s a picture of this morning’s sunrise.

I can’t say enough about how wonderful these retreats have been for me. Given that I’m a stroke caregiver and a mother of teenagers, having great stretches of time to write is a luxury I hardly know what to do with!

Which actually presents something of a challenge. There’s a part of me that says pedal to the metal, make sure you write X pages, X thousand words, etc… Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with having goals, but too much pressure can make me choke.

So I take these retreats as something akin to a romantic getaway with my muse. A leisurely approach works best. A while back, I spoke to composer Carlos Sanchez Gutierrez, who composed Ex Machina a piece first performed by my local orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic. I asked him how he dealt with creative blocks. He replied that when he’s blocked, he takes a nap.

So although my goal is to finish the balloonist story, I’m resolved to mix work and relaxation as needed, trusting that will actually help to make it happen.

Wish me luck!