Palm Springs Christmas

by Sandra

To follow up on my last post, I did indeed head out to Palm Springs over the Christmas weekend for a writer’s sojourn.

And it was lovely. You might think that spending two days in a hotel room by yourself would be lonely or tedious, but it was rarely ever either of those things. I stayed at the Ace Hotel, which is more affordable than the more traditional spa hotels in the area and geared toward a younger, hipper crowd, which I suppose I fall into.

My room was simple, clean and nicely-appointed with a mini-bar that was packed with tasty treats and good drinks—at a hefty price. I’d asked for a mountain view, and that’s exactly what I got, along with a tiny little balcony, perfect for one. I woke up Friday morning to this view and could not have been happier:

I ventured out mainly in search of food, forgoing the sights and sounds of Palm Springs and the surrounding desert in favor of some laptop face-time and the fulfillment of my whole reason for going out there in the first place:  finishing the first draft of my novel. I probably spent about twelve total hours writing over the two days, watching my word count climb from about 59,000 to over 75,000, my goal for this draft. At times it was hard to get the words to come out, but mostly they flowed in a kind of mindless succession of nouns and verbs and adverbs and adjectives and conjunctions.

How or if many of them will end up in the final draft is hard to say. The draft is not in any kind of finished, readable form. Scenes meander and cut short and veer from one thought to another. I’d say rather it’s a blueprint — all the ideas are there, now they need to be fully fleshed out. One big piece of the story that had been missing before fell into place during my first session. That was some good fortune, as I wasn’t sure before last weekend how the entire story was going to come together, but now I know.

While I wasn’t writing, I slept and took photographs and watched a Jeff Bridges double feature (Fearless and White Squall) and enjoyed the warm sunshine coming in through the double doors of my little balcony. It was, for sure, a non-traditional Christmas, but if the traditional doesn’t present itself easily at hand, who’s to say new traditions can’t be made? I for one would totally advocate for a desert Christmas in years to come. Maybe not by myself, and not cooped up in the hotel room the whole time, but there’s something so appealing about the washed out tones of that landscape, I’d love to explore it in more depth. And maybe splurge on a $40 spa manicure.

I accomplished a big goal I set out for myself this year, and that feels awesome. I haven’t touched the draft since last Friday and won’t until March or April, and then it’s onto a second draft and beyond. I am being realistic with myself when I say I want to have it published by 2015. Yeah, that’s four years from now, but, between a full-time job and the fact that I know nothing about the world of publishing and just life in general, I think four years is a decent amount of time.

In the meantime, Happy New Year and happy writing!