How I Write Novels

A Self-Made Retreat is Key to Finishing Your Book

1 Trick I’ve Used to write 5 Novels

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
5 min readMay 17, 2022

As a parent who writes from home, it can be hard to find the mental and physical space to write a book. So when my husband took our kids to visit family for for three days, I decided to make myself my own writing retreat — at our house. My primary goal during those three days was to exclusively focus on the creative part of my job — no cooking, no cleaning, no tasks to keep my household going, and no emails. Only writing, or thinking about writing.

The Day Before

The day before my family left I went to Trader Joe’s and I got myself a ton of pre-made food so I could put together some patented Writer Snacks during the retreat. (You can read more about my commitment to Writer Snacks here.) Writer Snacks are a cornerstone of my writing practice, and come into play for nearly every meal when I’m doing a retreat like this.

Day One

My family left in the late morning, so my first act of my solo retreat was to eat (an auspicious beginning!): Trader Joe’s frozen french onion soup with a salad and chips.

Then I wrote on and off for five, uninterrupted, glorious hours (I couldn’t recall when I’d had that much time to devote to my work). Then I grudgingly exercised, which I’ve discovered makes me more productive (so annoying!).

I ended the day with a delicious caprese salad and TJ’s snacks in front of the TV. I recommend a juicy TV show as a reward for the end of the working day — I was watching Inventing Anna at the time, and knowing I had a couple episodes to look forward to really kept me going. Plus, it counts as thinking about writing, because when you’re watching TV…



Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

She/her. New York Times bestseller / Author of five novels including: Fierce Little Thing, June, and Bittersweet.