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YA Highway's PNW Retreat: Inspiration Among the Trees

There's something in the air lately--it seems like people are having writing retreats left and right! We had to get in on the fun too, so last week no fewer than 10 members of YA Highway descended upon Washington state's Olympic peninsula. We shacked up in a cabin in the woods and got the chance to remember why we love writing, and why we're all such good friends.

Pictured (left to right): Sarah Enni, Veronica Roth, Kate Hart, Sumayyah Daud, Kirsten Hubbard, Kristin Otts, Kristin Halbrook, Kody Keplinger, Amy Lukavics, Phoebe North.

A few of us already took a swing at the retreat thing this summer, so this time we took a bit of a different approach to maximize attendance, productivity, and fun.

First: We found a cabin through a family connection. Not having a rental fee was huge for cost savings, and made the retreat an easier fit for many of our budgets.

The cabin was also near one of our members, and the family of another. We borrowed two cars for the week to tote everyone around without having to pay for a rental all week. Another huge savings--rental car fees add up!

We co-ordinated flights so most of us were able to spend Saturday morning together in Seattle's Pike Place Market, before hopping a ferry over to the peninsula. Ever so thoughtfully, Seattle made that the one sunny day of the week!

The lake near our cabin was lovely, too!
The cabin:
Photo credit: Sumayyah Daud

We did grocery shopping all over town, and resident chef Kristin Halbrook planned many menus and kept surprise batches of cookies going all week (yum)! Planning menus in advance and keeping the many dietary restrictions in mind was also a time/money saver. Turns out, gluten-free pizza is delish!

Most of our days were spent spread around the cabin (finding every electrical outlet we could, and managing to only blow one fuse) doing good work... writing, writing, writing!

Photo credit: Kirsten Hubbard

Hard not to be inspired by our surroundings...
Photo credit: Kate Hart

Photo credit: Kirsten Hubbard

Of course it wasn't ALL work...
Hard cider and Cards Against Humanity!
Photo credit: Kirsten Hubbard

Plenty of chatter!

And at least one long walk around the lake in the oh-so-brief period when there was no rain!

And we hosted our first joint YA Highway author event, hosted by Sage Bookstore at the Shelton, Washington Timberland library, which was absolutely incredible. Phoebe's going to post more on that later this month, but here are some of the pics from the event:
From left: Veronica Roth, Kirsten Hubbard, Kody Keplinger, Sumayyah Daud, Kristin Halbrook, Phoebe North

Such an amazing crowd! Some people drove for hours---our hearts were bursting.

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  1. What a fun event! Also, does it get confusing having two Kristins and a Kirsten? :-D

    1. YES!
      it helps that everyone calls me Kir, while Kristin Halbrook's Kris.

  2. So cool! Wish I could have been at your author event.

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  4. So glad you all enjoyed your time in rainy WA!! I had so much fun at the Shelton event and loved meeting you all! Thanks for sharing the pics!


  5. That looks like it was a lot of fun! And it's such a beautiful place. I think I'd like it if it was raining a lot during a writing retreat, that way it forces you to stay inside and write :)
    Unless you're the type that likes to write outside, then that'd be bad.

  6. This looks so fun!! And the author event too. Great line-up (great blog , too).


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