Rockaway Beach is full of stories – no one can argue with that. From a tragic Valentines Day shipwreck that still haunts our beaches to decades-old festivals celebrating the art of flying a kite, there are characters, plot lines and setting all around us.
In fact, author Katherine Bolger Hyde based two of her mystery novels – “Boodstains with Bronte” and “Arsenic with Austen,” – on a beach town modeled after Rockaway Beach, where she plans annual retreats to get away. So why not plan your own writers retreat in Rockaway Beach and see where your imagination takes you?
Here are some tips to make your writers retreat successful – and fun. Because if you’re looking for an authentic beach town to inspire your next piece of work, there’s nowhere better than Rockaway Beach.
Pick Where to Stay
Do you want your own beach-front cabin to be left to your own devices, or prefer a hotel fully loaded with WiFi, TV, a swimming pool and plenty of distractions to keep you occupied. We have accommodations to fit every kind of writer looking to find their muse.
Consider the Time of Year
Everyone has childhood memories of visiting the beach in the summer time – and generations of people have been coming to Rockaway Beach in the summer. Beach town summer romances have been the backdrop of many a novel, and we would never discourage anyone from soaking in the sunshine while dolling out pages of creative energy. However, off-season has its advantages, too. For one, it can be cheaper as rates are usually less expensive, and the fall and winter bring in different environments, people and problems to contemplate while you’re searching for inspiration.
Go out and Find your Muse
Not sure where to start? Take yourself out to dinner at The Offshore Grill or Sand Dollar Restaurant and Lounge. Take in the tastes of the coast and the eclectic surrounding. Grab breakfast at Grumpy’s cafe and ask about the alleged ghost that causes mischief in the kitchen. Grab an ice cream cone from Big Al and meander his selection of homemade fudges, candy, and beach toys. Stop by the Old Oregon Smokehouse and take in the tie-dyed wearing family who welcome everyone who stops by, and who makes some of the best clam chowder on the coast. Stop by the Red Caboose on the Wayside and speak with some of the volunteers about some of the best things to do in Rockaway Beach, or where to go for a good cup of coffee.
If there’s one thing Rockaway Beach isn’t, it’s quiet; we love to talk about the things we love and why we love them. You’ll find characters, setting, and story ideas just in the conversations you can have with locals, business owners, and generational visitors. (Because people have been visiting Rockaway Beach before there were even roads to get here.)
Take lots of Notes
Whatever you do, don’t forget to write. After you’ve been exploring, grab a bench at the Wayside and write down your notes; the things you liked, the conversations you had that can later be developed into finely-tuned dialogue amongst characters. How many flavors of ice cream were there? Did the freshly-made waffle cones smell savory or a little burnt? How sticky was the salt water taffy? It might not seem like much at the time, but writing down sensory details before they fade away in your memory will make it that much easier to call on them when you need them down the road. So write it all down – the temper of the ocean and the way the wind ruffled your hair; the color of the kites floating on the breeze and the number of boogie boarders out in the ocean surf.
Great writing doesn’t happen overnight. It can take days, months and even years to get a single story where you want it to be. That’s why successful writers and authors schedule regular retreats to get back in touch with the things that inspire them and draw them to this creative medium. If you’re feeling stuck in your art, just come back. You’ll be glad you did.