It was an innocent enough suggestion, but it lingered. "You need a writer's retreat. A time to yourself to focus on your writing. With a small group of other writers. In the mountains."
Initially it seemed like a dream, a fantasy almost. Then over the course of a few days it became a reality. A week wasn't too long. Air fares are cheap enough. Leave from work can be arranged.
So the application was written. It provided a chance to tidy up some of the rough edges of the work. Writing a short synopsis helps to consolidate the key ideas, highlight what matters most in the story. Writing goals for the week also helped to identify the current stage of the writing process and what was needed to keep it progressing. Asking for a consultation helped to see the writing as valuable, worthwhile, worthy of others' eyes.
Then the email of congratulations arrived advising the application was successful and a draft manuscript should be sent through. Scrambling to get up to 50 pages of the manuscript was a struggle. That feeling of it not being ready, not being good enough, had to be overcome as the manuscript needed to be sent. It was a relief, in the end, to have to send it as it was. How many writers have "not good enough" work sitting in their filing cabinets? Never open to the scrutiny and potential acceptance of others?
So with the application process over, the manuscript sent, dates confirmed, it's a matter of waiting, with great anticipation, for the trip. And continuing to write, always writing.