Edinburgh Writing Retreat

I'm home after five weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I was on a writing retreat to work on a new novel. It was an intense five weeks. To get the most out of the trip, I was strict about getting my daily writing done first thing each day, writing for 5 hours each morning, before letting myself explore the city and do research after lunch in this amazing city I've been visiting since I was 10 years old. Here are a few of the many highlights of the trip.

The inspiring view from my writing nook: Edinburgh Castle, which sits high atop a volcanic rock in the center of the city.

The inspiring view from my writing nook: Edinburgh Castle, which sits high atop a volcanic rock in the center of the city.

The dramatic sky over Edinburgh Castle.

The dramatic sky over Edinburgh Castle.

I was on my own in Edinburgh for part of my writing retreat and had various family members with me there for parts of the time—with the understanding that everyone knew my morning writing hours were sacred. The plan worked, no doubt helped along by these views. I handed a draft of the new novel to my agent and she loved it!

Dori the gargoyle didn’t hide out in my bag on this trip, but Hamish the Highland Cow (COO) followed me home one day, and was a great writing helper.

Dori the gargoyle didn’t hide out in my bag on this trip, but Hamish the Highland Cow (COO) followed me home one day, and was a great writing helper.

Visiting the Bedlam Theatre, where I performed during college many years ago.

Visiting the Bedlam Theatre, where I performed during college many years ago.

The passageway leading to the Writers Museum, which celebrates Scottish authors Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. I attended terrific magic show here as well, with magicians Lewis Barlow, Jody Greig, and Adam Black.

The passageway leading to the Writers Museum, which celebrates Scottish authors Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. I attended terrific magic show here as well, with magicians Lewis Barlow, Jody Greig, and Adam Black.

Why was there a magic show at the Writers’ Museum? Because August is Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival! It’s the world’s largest arts festival, opening the city to anyone who wants to perform. I first attended as a kid, but hadn’t been back in years. I was glad that this writing retreat overlapped with the start of the festival.

Why was there a magic show at the Writers’ Museum? Because August is Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival! It’s the world’s largest arts festival, opening the city to anyone who wants to perform. I first attended as a kid, but hadn’t been back in years. I was glad that this writing retreat overlapped with the start of the festival.

One of many events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. I attended several performances and workshops here, doing research for the novel.

One of many events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. I attended several performances and workshops here, doing research for the novel.

On the outskirts of the city, the ruins of Craigmillar Castle.

On the outskirts of the city, the ruins of Craigmillar Castle.

Exploring the castle.

Exploring the castle.

A secret courtyard filled with ruins that have been rescued from various parts of the city when old buildings are demolished! This hidden gem is behind the Museum of Edinburgh, and a fictionalized version made its way into my manuscript.

A secret courtyard filled with ruins that have been rescued from various parts of the city when old buildings are demolished! This hidden gem is behind the Museum of Edinburgh, and a fictionalized version made its way into my manuscript.

A few of the rescued stone carvings.

A few of the rescued stone carvings.

A view from the flat: Fireworks above the castle.

A view from the flat: Fireworks above the castle.

I've got a lot more work to do on this book, so now I need to find time to revise in between other writing projects I’m excited about, from Jaya to Zoe to a couple of short stories…