The good thing about being a writer is that you can be creative and imaginative, crafting any essay or story you want. You get to wear funky clothing and colorful scarves and keep odd hours. You can write in your bathrobe. Occasionally, you write a stellar sentence or sell a piece of writing and other people actually read it.
The downside is the that you’re on your own. No one insists that you work 9-5 or that you finish that poem by 3 p.m. on Tuesday. No one asks you to submit that humorous piece you’re working on because it would be so perfect for their magazine.
So, when my travel writer friend said her writing commitment needed a kick in the pants, I thought, Right. I should rediscover my serious writing persona, and investigated the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. The weeklong writing workshops are costly, so I debated and debated. Great teachers, an amazing location, a community serious about writing . . . But I wanted to go on vacation this summer. And save money. But then I thought about all the half-started ideas that cover my desk that never seem to get written. And I heard novelist Elizabeth Strout mention that she finished Olive Kitteridge while holed up in a cottage in Provincetown. See, writers are required to work in a beach cottage in the dunes of Provincetown at one point or another. It’s in the writer’s credo. And so I signed myself up for a nonfiction class and rented myself a little cottage where I will have a combined writing retreat/vacation from which amazing essays will sprout—or where I’ll at least hang out at the beach and pretend to write.