Deanne Ouest, Author

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2014-08-14

Created by Deanne Ouest

Water’s Edge Retreat

 

It is early June and the weather can be contentious. Friday started with strong winds and an anticipated 30-50 millimetres of rain.  Our journey started in Hubbards, Nova Scotia with sheets of rain with blustery winds buffeting the car as we wound our way along highway #3 with wipers on high and the occasionally four-way flashers. The weather didn’t dampen our spirits as we made our way to our destination – White Point Lodge.

We arrived perhaps 20-30 minutes later than anticipated as the rain had slowed as down.     Check-in was quick and we made our way to our lakeside retreat. Grabbing our bags, we dashed through the drilling rain up a rocky path to the door of our building and quickly made it inside. A little damp from our mad dash, we stowed away our clothes, drinks, and treats for the weekend.

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A quick check of social media and we headed back to the lodge and grabbed some lunch. Lunch was hot and plentiful and we watched the crashing waves from our table as we ate.

After lunch we headed back to the room and hunkered down to attend to the purpose of the retreat – writing.  We pulled out our laptops and began hitting the keys after a quick social media check.

 

A few hours later and a change of clothes we headed for dinner at the lodge. We started with a nice Pinot Grigio in the lounge and engaged in a little people watching. At our reserved time we sauntered into the restaurant. A buffet was on display and we partook of a variety of offerings from seafood chowder, various salads, hip of beef and planked salmon. All delicious. Dessert was a choice of bread pudding, tarts, cream puffs, squares and carrot cake. As is the norm with a buffet we overindulged a bit.

IMG_6736Afterwards we settled back in the lounge to listen to live music and indulge in a post dinner drink. As usual, the people watching was engaging as we bantered. A couple of hours later we headed back to the room and did a little reading before going to sleep.

 

 

 

 

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Both early risers we awoke around 6 a.m. to a gorgeous morning. A few cups of coffee, some reading,  and a check of social media we headed for breakfast. A wonderful array of food was displayed on the buffet and we filled our tummies. Grabbing a coffee to go we headed to the deck overlooking the ocean and began writing,

The weather was wonderful. The sun was shining down on us with a slight breeze to keep the bugs at bay.  It was relaxing and productive until the horde of townies invaded our space with their chatter and cloying perfumes.  Shortly thereafter we retreated to our lakeside room to continue in silence – well as silent as the two of us can be – as disjointed conversations flowed as we work.

As the day progressed so did the weather. By mid-noon the thermometer had reached 25 degrees celsius which is quite warm here for this time of year. In my forays outside to indulge in a little sun, I graced my friend with a few interesting jigs as I dodged the hated wasps that seem to love to torment me – the dance of wasps – as I referred to it brought laughter. At lunch we walked to the lodge. A nice jaunt along the tree-lined road to build our appetite while enjoying the nature around us, as I doggedly dodged the bugs that so love me wherever we go.

Lunch consisted of a delicious pizza board with naan bread, slathered in a garlic alfredo sauce topped with ham, pears and an abundance of mozzarella – it  did not disappoint. For dessert the options were decadent – having spied the delivery of a few to the table next to ours. Classic chocolate cake with layers of chocolate ganache garnished with chocolate shavings accompanied by milk chocolate-toasted marshmallow ice-cream and a more than generous slice of vanilla cheese cake with a red fruit and white chocolate sauce finished our meal.

After lunch we headed back to the room and caught a glimpse of a bride heading down to the shore for her wedding.  Along the way to the room we searched for the wild bunnies for which the resort is known but to our dismay none were seen. Back at the room we indulged in a few more hours of writing with short jaunts into the sun to catch a few rays while checking social media for interesting bits of news.

Dressed for supper we headed back to the lodge for dinner. I indulged in the buffet once again and my friend had the delicious mushroom ravioli.

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We capped off dinner with a few sweets and headed into the lounge for drinks and music. The lone musician didn’t disappoint with an eclectic collection of 70’s music. Each table was adorned with trivia boxes and we kept ourselves entertained as we read and shared interesting bits while watching the folks around us. At one point we watched the wedding party head down to the shore line for some after wedding photos while perched on the rocks in front of the beach.

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After a few hours we headed back to the room and caught a quick glimpse of one of the bunny rabbits hopping around the parked vehicles.

 

We settled in for the night with some reading. A last-minute jaunt outside proved to be a little horrifying as we made our way out the door only to realize the glass was covered with hundreds of little green flies only to look up and notice thousands of the same flies covering the roof of the porch. We scurried inside completely freaked out checking to ensure we had not been followed. A bit more self-indulgent reading and we went to sleep.

The next morning was bittersweet as we packed knowing we had to head home soon.  The weather was gorgeous once again. A quick jaunt to the lodge and we ate breakfast. We did a last bit of writing as we settled in the lounge before heading home where this blog came to life.

It was a fantastic weekend at the water, hopefully to be repeated in the near future.

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Moving Forward

In November I had good intentions to get writing but they were derailed when my day job got a little crazy. I am now back on track and looking forward to a productive year. To assist me I’ve engaged a writing coach. What is a writing coach you ask?

To me it is someone who assists / mentors a writer by helping them move forward, provide an objective perspective on all things and guides them thru the process with encouragement along the way. They help with setting goals; deadlines; overcoming obstacles (I.e. bogged down in the process, reached a point where you don’t know where to go next, etc.); and whatever the writer may need to help them move forward and be the best writer they can.

My overall goal is to have my coach help me determine a workable schedule and set attainable goals while they guide me thru the process of developing a clear and compelling plot, help me determine a tone, style, and voice based on my intended audience. I want to finish with a coherent and captivating final piece of literature that I am proud to publish and share.

I envision the process will take me from my initial partial draft (which I’ve just sent – OMG – a slight panic attack after I hit send), various drafts (I expect a few) to the editorial process (editing, copyediting, and proofreading) and finally the end goal being a product that I can publish with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

As I finished writing this blog, I realized a few things:

1. The first person who will read what I have written is a successful multi-published author.
2. I wonder what I was thinking when I hit send.
3. I am optimistic and hopeful that my submission will not be completely marred with red ink.
4. At this moment in time, my dream of being a published author has transition into becoming a reality.

Wow. Now all I have to do is wait on the feedback – which is equal parts scary and exciting.

Next. . . Feedback – Where do I go from here?

Writing Challenges – Frame of Mind

In my day job, I spend a good portion of my day writing. It’s a challenge at times to switch hats from legalese and technical writing to non-fiction. Part of the challenge is that I am familiar with writing  about what I know. Whether it be an opinion piece stepped in research, advice or a guide on how to perform some function. It’s tethered in the here and now and grounded in known facts.

When I switch to my night job of writing non-fiction the framework in which I write changes drastically. I sometimes struggle with those new parameters because they are so different. The purpose and form have changed and the expectation is vastly disparate.

There is so much to learn and assimilate. A lot of the terminology is new and there are acronyms being used that I don’t recognize.  As well as familiarizing myself with style guides that I haven’t opened in a few decades. Then, I learned to my horror that two spaces is no longer the standard after a period. I missed the memo on that one, so much so that I have to search and replace to remove them.

When I sit down to write sometimes the story flows onto the page and then I struggle with the structure and form. Other times the structure flows, but the story lags behind. Regardless of the struggle, I just have to write and forget about whether it is right or wrong and get the story down on the page. The writing and form doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be. So I write.

 

 

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