Writing update + new Facebook look

A happy Monday morning to all!

Just a quick, writerly update from your neighborhood historical novelist. (Sorry … not enough coffee. What can I say? It’s Monday.)

FIRST, The manuscript (first draft) of my new historical novel is currently with my literary agent. It’s a time-consuming, gut-roiling process, as a writer, to wait. I’m feeling quite a bit of ennui these days. The weird, seemingly unending rain and lack of snow does not help.

For my fellow word dorks:
Ennui: (French, literary) “A feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.” Example: He succumbed to ennui and despair.

Don’t worry. I have multiple other occupations. And a dirty house. I will not succumb to despair.

SECOND, I’ve given my Author Facebook page a new look with a new cover photo. Check it out! And while you’re at it, please “Like” my page. It helps.

Until next time, may your week be blessed with a good fire, good books, and good people.

bannerusethisone

 

 

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Springtime in February … and other such conundrum

So, apparently, February is now a springtime month.

I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. My town sits at an elevation of about 2300 feet (higher than Asheville and Hendersonville, N.C.), and it usually–it should–snow. But climate change has wreaked its soul-crushing havoc on our weather here just like it has everywhere else, and instead of the snowy, ground-freezing winter we truly need, we’re getting spring. Birds are chirping, rain is falling, flowers are blooming early, trees are budding, and it’s warm. Yesterday it almost hit 70 degrees.

Blurry dusting, the Pisgah National Forest

Blurry dusting, the Pisgah National Forest

This past Friday, we got our first (and likely only) snow of the season: a mere dusting. And while it was beautiful and right while it lasted, none of us even held out hope it would stick around. Why? Because the next day the temperature was predicted to be in the 60s. Also the days after that. And here we are.

Don’t get me wrong. If it was actually spring, I’d be fine with the weather. However, it is not spring. It’s early February.

I moved to the mountains, in part, for real seasons: for a full-on experience of winter, spring, summer, fall. For the variety, the vividity and the authentic nature of each. Added to that, I sincerely love winter, and I adore snow like only someone raised in South Carolina could. It’s always been magic to me.

Still, there’s more here than magic. There’s a real need for the ground to freeze, for the things beneath to regenerate. For us to have something to thaw out from. I need winter as much as the earth does.

I don’t know if it’s my early middle age, or what: but the lack of real winter–this conundrum of nature–seems to coincide with life upending itself. My loved ones are dealing with all kinds of personal challenges: with parents struggling with health issues, random accidents, children navigating health crises, and more. My country, which I have loved powerfully, and believed in, my entire life, seems shaky and unmoored, led by the proverbial emperor missing his clothes. So much of everything feels like it can’t possibly be real.

And yet, it is real. This is life. This is my life. Our lives.

It’s not in my nature to be a stick-my-head-in-the-sand kind of character. This is not born from any noble effort–feeling helpless is my least favorite feeling. I’ve just always been the type to stay up and fight. But lately, more than ever, I yearn to draw in close, and to draw my people in close with me. To light a fire, to circle in and warm our bodies by it. To draw the blankets up around our shoulders, and tuck in.

Frankly, I’m not sure how much good that does anybody but me.

Winter has always provided a natural looking-in: a sort of hibernation, a hunkering-down as ancient as our animal humanity. But what happens when winter is gone? What do we lose?

I know the answer, and I am at a loss. (Is this the lesson of aging?)

For now, my prayer is simple: for winter to return.

View from the carpool lane

View from the carpool lane

 

 

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How to Build a Creative Life … or, Navigating Creative Disappointment … or, The Rallying Cry of the Working Writer

Update from MountainTop Writers RetreatI couldn’t decide on a title for this post (obviously). I am not normally indecisive—it’s just that each of the above titles fits. They are all part of the story of the working writer.

Here’s my story, at least for today: the upcoming Winter MountainTop (MountainTop Writers Retreat’s residency Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2020) is cancelled. We just did not have enough registrants to make this particular retreat weekend financially viable.

I’m disappointed, to say the least. I have put many hours of work—time, energy, and womanpower—into the newly launched MountainTop Writers Retreat, and I’m ready to share it with other writers. Drawing from my own experience as a writer in every stage of her writing life—from wannabe scribbler to occasionally published to published novelist to mama-writer to trying-to-be-a-sophomore novelist—I’ve worked to craft a retreat which will meet a writer wherever he or she lives. By this, I mean a retreat from which any writer, no matter where they are on the journey, can benefit.

Add to that a unique and tranquil setting—Earthshine Lodge in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina—which I long to share with others. This place is special, y’all: 76 acres of mountain and meadow at 3,000 feet of elevation, bordering one of the most beautiful national forests in the country. In every season, Earthshine makes you feel removed from the busy world … exactly where you are meant to be. Because of this, MountainTop Writers Retreat has the potential to be a powerfully generative experience for creative people.

I know, like so many of us, how one single experience can be the magic portal into something else. How time away with other writers, even for a weekend, can buoy your writing. It’s an investment in yourself and in your creative life which will yield boundless potential. I know this, because I’ve experienced it myself. When you invest in your writing life, when you arrange time away from your other responsibilities—and believe me, I know exactly what that means and how difficult it can be—you are saying to yourself, to your loved ones, and to the world: I am a writer. My writing is a priority.

But life is never predictable, and rarely fair. The vast majority of writers are not wealthy people, and investing in a retreat can be a challenge. There are work, family, and timing obligations which often get in the way. Traveling to and participating in a new retreat, especially, means taking a chance that interactions with other writers, time with visiting authors, and the accommodations themselves will meet or exceed your expectations. A creative life can often feel like a game of chance.

Let’s be honest: the attempt to become a published writer, an author, is a great leap of faith. The pass-fail percentages are unnerving. You have to love it—to believe in your story, and in yourself.

Over the last year and a half, my family and I have made difficult choices in order to strengthen my writing career. My younger child went to “real” school, which created a window for me to step away a time- and energy-consuming (and, frankly, thankless) teaching job—a job and students I happened to love. For me to devote time, for the the first time in over a decade, to my writing career. These have not been easy decisions. But during this time, and because of these choices, I have been happier and more productive as a writer than I’ve ever imagined. (Funny how loss and gain are often the opposite sides of a priceless coin.)

Like many writers, I am trying to grow a creative career: to do the things which not only enrich my writing life, but which also bring me joy—and in turn, bring joy to other writers.

This is why I launched MountainTop Writers Retreat, and why I hope it will be a success. The journey to making the retreat a success will not be an easy peasy walk in the park—but what real journey worth its salt, and worth the story, ever is?

I hate disappointing anyone. So the fact that Winter MountainTop did not make this go-round feels to me like a trip through an emotional and mental wringer: I am in turn sad I couldn’t make it work, embarrassed for the same reasons, frustrated at all the might-have-beens. Still, while I’m disappointed to the bone that the retreat did not come to fruition this go-round, I’m thankful for the folks who registered—who took a chance on a new retreat and a director (and author) who is still making her way in the writing world. I hope they will forward their deposits–and their creative hopes–to our next retreat.

Now. Onward. MountainTop Writers Retreat is pleased to announce our newest retreat: 2020 Fall MountainTop, to be held November 6 – 8, 2020 at Earthshine Lodge. Fall MountainTop will be much like Winter: private rooms in a private lodge, meals, roaring fires, and an optional itinerary of brainstorming and workshop sessions, yoga, hiking, and more. This will be shorter weekend, so it’ll be cheaper. Add the gorgeous colors of Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it will be a retreat weekend which can’t be beat. (Plus, you’ve got 9 months to plan for it.)

Details are still being finalized, so please follow us on social media for updates:
Instagram: @mountaintopwritersretreat
My author website: www.katherinescottcrawford.com
My Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/KatherineScottCrawford

If writing was easy, everyone would do it. We do it, of course, because we have to. Because stories are the way we walk through the world.

I want to be on this journey with you. I hope you’ll join us in Fall 2020 at MountainTop Writers Retreat.

Thanks for listening,

Katie
Founder & Director, MountainTop Writers Retreat
Fellow Writer

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Extended registration + coupon code for MountainTop Writers Retreat

Photo courtesy of Earthshine Lodge

Photo courtesy of Earthshine Lodge

There is still time to make 2020 your most creative year yet! We’ve extended registration for MountainTop Writers Retreat’s upcoming residency (Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2020) through Sunday, Jan. 19th. Register on or before 1.19.2020 with coupon code MTNWRITE for $100 off.

Winter is the perfect time to write. We hope you’ll join us on the mountaintop.

For more info and to register, go to www.earthshinenc.com/mountaintop-writers-retreat/

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It’s 2020. It’s time to finally invest in your writing life.

investIt is 2020. It’s time to finally invest in your writing life–in your story, the one you’ve always wanted to tell. In the book you’ve always wanted to write.

Being a writer, BELIEVING you are and can be a writer, takes more than a leap of faith. It takes a leap of will. It takes an investment: of time, money, and heart. We hope you will make that leap with us at MountainTop Writers Retreat. We promise you will not regret it.

Your package includes: private (or shared) rooms in a rustic-elegant lodge, 3 nights bed and continental breakfast, catered meals, roaring fires, yoga, hiking, brainstorming/mentoring sessions with Founder and Retreat Director Katherine Scott Crawford, workshop with bestselling novelist Kimberly Brock, and more. Partake in as little or as much of the itinerary as you wish. This is YOUR retreat.

 

There are TWO DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER for our upcoming retreat Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2020 at beautiful Earthshine Lodge in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina. (Registration will end 1.15.2020.) Use coupon code MTNWRITE for $100 off the price of the weekend.

Leap.

For more information, click here.

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Coupon code for MountainTop Writers Retreat

A New Year's gift from us to you!Hi, all!

We still have rooms available at Winter MountainTop, our upcoming retreat for writers and creatives, Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2020 in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Use coupon code MTNWRITE for $100 off the total price.

Tons of info here under the MountainTop Writers Retreat page. To register and use your coupon code, go to www.earthshinenc.com/mountaintop-writers-retreat/. And please don’t hesitate to email me directly at thewritingscott at gmail dot com with any questions about the retreat.

Please share with any writer or creative person in your life who is in need of time, space, and inspiration!

This is also a retreat for clergy, professors, teachers, songwriters, artists and more–anyone working on new or continuing projects. There will be private or shared rooms in a rustic-elegant mountain lodge, catered meals, roaring fires, yoga, hiking, mentoring/brainstorming sessions with me, workshop with bestselling author Kimberly Brock, and more. Participants may engage as much or as little as they want. It’s the perfect way to kick off a creative new year!

(Registration will end 1.15.20.)

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Resolve to commit to your writing in 2020 – Winter MountainTop Writers Retreat

wintersunsetThe new year is coming, crisp and cold and mysterious–waiting for you to finally tell your story.

There is still time to register for our upcoming retreat, Winter MountainTop, hosted Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2020 at gorgeous Earthshine Lodge in the mountains of Western North Carolina. With private or shared rooms in a rustic-elegant lodge, catered meals, roaring fires, hours of uninterrupted writing time, hiking, yoga, brainstorming/mentoring sessions, workshop with Visiting Author Kimberly Brock, and more. A national forest at your feet. It’s the perfect time to begin a creative new year.

For more information and to register, go to www.earthshinenc.com/mountaintop-writers-retreat/

Tons of information available by scrolling through posts below, and beneath the MountainTop Writers Retreat page (and subsequent drop-down pages) here.

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Why I launched a new writers’ retreat

MountainTop Writers Retreat (1)_hillphotoWhen you launch a brand new writers’ retreat in the midst of your own busy life, folks will naturally ask why. There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of writers’ retreats and residencies in the United States alone: why start a new one? What makes your retreat different from so many others?

These are good questions, of course. Here are answers, interview-style, because I used to be a newspaper reporter, and I like doing it this way.  I hope that for those of you interested in MountainTop Writers Retreat, they’ll offer some insight.

Here we go.

Why launch a writers’ retreat?
I live in a beautiful part of the world, and was raised in a beautiful part of the world, and I’ve thought of offering my own writers’ retreats here for years. In fact, in the early spring of 2018 I hosted my first, private retreat at a lakehouse in the South Carolina foothills. It was a small weekend retreat, attended by Kimberly Brock, Emily Carpenter, and M.J. Pullen: three successful, published authors looking for peace, quiet, and time to write. Kimberly was already a compadre of mine, and she’d hooked the others. I cooked a welcome meal, we pooled groceries and wine, and I kept a fire roaring in the fireplace all day and well into the night. We all wrote like gangbusters, sometimes together. It was glorious. I walked away with two new friends, and the itch to do it again.

But I wanted to find a place a little closer to Brevard, North Carolina, the dreamy small town where I live with my husband, dog, and two young daughters (i.e. the people who require my time and attention). MountainTop Writers Retreat was officially born because of a bit of kismet: two Brevard friends, Ali Lien and Anna Bracco–awesome female entrepreneurs–bought Earthshine Lodge, an incredibly special property about 20 minutes away from town. There was a remote setting, 76 acres of gorgeous mountain meadow and forest abutting the Pisgah National Forest, views for days, a rustic-elegant private lodge, and so much more. I knew it was the perfect place to host writers’ retreats.

But, wait. There’s got to be more. 

There is. There are other reasons, of course, to launch a writers’ retreat. Namely this: Writers need space, time, and quiet in which to write. Never before in my life as a writer have I felt this more than I do now, with a husband, two young children, a dog, a house, and multiple vocations/avocations/responsibilities calling–sometimes all at once–for my attention. I know I’m not alone.

Most writers have other jobs outside of writing, don’t they?

Yep. Writing tends to take a backseat to those jobs, to family concerns, to–let’s face it–just about everything else. Even when we have a set writing routine, it is often interrupted by, well: life. We know that at any moment, or at a certain point in the day, we have to walk away from the desk–no matter how well the writing flows. It’s rare to find concentrated chunks of writing time when we can really dig into the work; when we allow inspiration to have time to spark, ignite, and flame. Retreat–a true retreat, where we can put our focus solely onto our craft–gives us this time.

I have had the good fortune (and luck) to spend time as a writer-in-residence at other retreats and residencies. Time which spurred my work, which launched me into a new opportunity, whether it be an award or connection. Time which allowed me to focus only on my work, my writing, my creativity. It was a gift. And it changed everything for me.

MountainTop offers something else, too. It offers an opening for the magic to get through. As creatives, we all know ideas and inspirations live in the air around us, whipping about like invisible threads. Sometimes, someone else–another writer–grabs a thread before we can, and makes something of it. But there are plenty of threads for all of us. What we have to have is the time, and the quiet, in which to be still. So that we can see these threads, and pull them down for ourselves.

MountainTop Writers Retreat offers just that: time, quiet, and inspiration, in a gorgeous mountain setting. Every retreat with us is crafted to suit a writer’s individual needs. Every itinerary item is included, but optional. Each writer decides how much he or she takes part. Walk alone in the woods, join a hike, take a yoga class, rock in a rocking chair, cozy up by a roaring fire in a giant stone fireplace, or hunker down in your room in the Lodge, and plunk away at those laptop keys. This is what makes MountainTop different: It’s your retreat. Make it what you will.

What about the location of the retreat?

MountainTop Writers Retreat is also different from others because of where it’s located and what it offers: a remote mountain setting, a rustic-elegant lodge, a national forest at your feet. Many retreats or residencies are offered at the least for one week, and at most for months at a time. MountainTop Writers Retreats are hosted over long weekends, which give participants enough time to dig into new work, or to work on continued projects or deadlines, but not so long as to interfere with job or family responsibilities.

At every retreat I’ve attended, there have been times when I’ve wanted to keep working–to keep typing away–and for the world to leave me alone. But inevitably, I’d have to attend a workshop, or a pitch session, or interact at meals. Many times, this was welcome–and I enjoyed these interactions. But many other times, they were an interruption from the creativity sparking in my writing. I want writers to have the choice: to step away from their writing and to interact with others only on their terms.

Here’s what I want folks to get out of a weekend with us at MountainTop Writers Retreat:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “retreat”, in part, as “to retire, withdraw. [To] remove, take away.” It is my hope that writers who join us at MountainTop are able to retire and withdraw from the busy world–from anything which may keep them from their writing. (Sometimes–a lot of the time–this means separating ourselves only temporarily  from jobs, spouses, children, dogs, and duties.) By offering MountainTop retreats, I want to remove any impediment to creativity. I want to take away the things which stand between a writer and the writing.

All writers are welcome here. MountainTop is open to any adult writer or creative: authors, poets, playwrights, clergy, journalists, crafters, artists, and more. You can be anywhere in your journey as a writer when you come to MountainTop. 

At MountainTop Writers Retreat, our goals are peace, quiet, seclusion, inspiration. I want writers to walk away feeling refreshed, re-energized, and excited about what lies ahead in their creative work and in their creative lives. I want them, too, to feel touched by the magic inherent here–in the Lodge itself, and in the surrounding mountains and forests. I want them to feel as if they’ve been given a gift.

Winter MountainTop is our upcoming retreat Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2020. We’re offering a coupon code now through Jan. 19, 2020, when registration ends. $100 off the total price by using code MTNWRITE. The discount is applied directly when you register. I hope you’ll consider Winter MountainTop as a gift to yourself, or to the writer or creative in your life.

For more information and to register, click here.

* Don’t forget to check out the information under the MountainTop Writers Retreat page of this website, and the tabs beneath for FAQ, bios, photos, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking for a writer’s retreat this winter? Or a gift for the writer in your life? Our Winter Retreat is live!

* I have published a brand-new Keowee Valley Christmas story! $0.99 on Kindle (FREE for Kindle Unlimited members.) Quinn and Jack are back in the Valley! Click here for more info. 

MountainTop Writers Retreat_InstagramGive yourself–or the writer in your life–the gift of retreat this holiday season! 

Join us at Winter MountainTop, our newest retreat for writers and creatives of all stages, January 30 – February 2, 2020.

Hosted at Earthshine Lodge in the gorgeous mountains of Western North Carolina, Winter MountainTop is a retreat for writers and creatives in need of quiet and time, with an optional itinerary of activities, including brainstorming/mentoring sessions and craft talks/workshops with visiting authors, hiking, yoga, meditation, and more. Perfect for writers of all genres and stages who are working on new or continuing projects. Though we will share communal spaces in the Lodge, and some meals, any and all time spent with other writers and visiting authors is by choice. Our goals are quiet, coziness, productivity, and inspiration. This is your retreat!

Winter MountainTop 2020 is excited to host Visiting Author Kimberly Brock, author of the bestselling SouthernKBrockheadshot4 Gothic novel, The River Witch. Kimberly is a guest lecturer, speaker, essayist, and more. She is the founder of Tinderbox Writers Retreat, a member of Tall Poppy Writers, and was 2013 Georgia Author of the Year. Most recently, Kimberly was a faculty member of the 2019 Pat Conroy Literacy Center’s Anchorage Writers Retreat Weekend.

For more information about what is included in your package, your private (or shared) accommodations, and to register, click here.

Holiday special pricing with $100 off now through December 25th!

 

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Evergreen and Expectations: A Keowee Valley Christmas Story

Quinn and Jack are back in the Valley!

I am ever so happy to bring you “Evergreen and Expectations: A Keowee Valley Christmas Story.” Whether it’s your first visit, or a return, I hope you enjoy the 1700s, and the wild Carolina backcountry! It is Christmas, and it is snowing, and Quinn and Jack–and a few surprises–are waiting for you.

Available on Kindle for $0.99. Free to Kindle Unlimited members!

To buy, click here.

EvergreencoverIt is Christmas in the Keowee Valley. Over a year since Quincy MacFadden Wolf and her half-Cherokee husband, Jack, returned from adventures abroad, it should be a season of celebration and good cheer. Quite unlike herself, Quinn is surly and sad, longing for the good company of friends and family. But the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring surprising revelations and unexpected guests, and Quinn will discover she is capable of great purpose–and that she is more at home on the frontier than ever before.


Katherine Scott Crawford returns with a short story filled with characters from her awarding-winning historical novel. Set on the wild Carolina frontier in the years before the American Revolution, the Keowee Valley is still beautiful and mysterious, and Quinn and Jack a pair of lovers as rare and real as they ever were.

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