Go Bali or Go Home!

In November, I will have a big birthday. And when I say big, I mean 5-0 big! (I can’t say the word, it’s too disconcerting. As a friend of mine said, it’s like coughing up a fur ball.) Most birthdays come and go fairly quietly, but this year I envisioned something more adventurous … a trip out West or a big birthday party, something fun to mark the occasion. After all, as scary as aging may be, I am grateful to be here to celebrate another birthday.

But something much more amazing has come about. I have been accepted to a month-long writing retreat in Bali, Indonesia,bali-09 starting on November 6. With the help of an assigned writing coach, I will spend four weeks with 29 other participants, completely immersed in writing my next novel. The program’s goal is for each of us to complete a first draft of a book by the end of the retreat. This supportive, writing-intense environment will include yoga, meditation and sight-seeing trips on Sundays. I don’t doubt it will be greatly productive and, in many ways, personally transformative.

At first, I was hesitant to accept because of the cost, which is overwhelming, along with the fact that being self-employed means no income for the month I’m gone, but a friend reminded me that this was the reason – the chance to write full-time and embrace life-changing experiences – that I struck out on my own, rather than continue the corporate grind. This truly will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I cannot turn down for fear of being in debt.

I give thanks to my friend, Michon, who has also been accepted and encouraged me to apply. We will take this journey together.

And I invite you to (virtually) join me on this journey. I will post updates and pictures on Facebook and Twitter (@mshatter1) as often as I can. In the coming months, your love and support will be important in keeping me focused and motivated to reach my financial goal so that I don’t incur too much debt.

No, I won’t be asking you to send me money (although if you want to as a birthday gift, I won’t say no!). But I hope that you will support me by using and/or referring my services (massage and editing). I have set up an account on Fiverr, offering low-cost writing services, and my web site provides details of my book editing services, but I’m open to discussing your writing needs. Also, look out for me at various book festivals and events over the summer. This Saturday, June 13, I will be signing books at the Fenton Street Market in downtown Silver Spring. Do stop by and say hello. And mark your calendar for Saturday, June 20 when I will be at the inaugural Juneteenth Book Festival at the St. Elizabeth’s East Gateway Pavilion in Southeast D.C.

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to focus on my writing in an inspiring and stunning part of the world. I look forward to sharing the experience with you.


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4 Responses to Go Bali or Go Home!

  1. Mike G says:

    Wow that sounds fantastic! A month long retreat totally focused (yoga) and immersed in writing a novel?!! That is the dream! Congratulations to you, and I have just sent a similar intention into the universe, that soon I will have a similar opportunity. I hope to see you at the Juneteenth event on 06/20, and I wish you the very best. I was just sitting here trying to get motivated to continue pecking away at the keyboard, when I realized that I hadn’t checked in on your blog for a while. I am so glad I did! That is an amazing – amazing opportunity to go to Bali and write in perfect peace with a writing coach, too?! Wow!! I don’t have a Facebook account myself, but I will find a way to check out the photos once you’ve posted them. I’m sure they’ll be amazing. May I ask one question: Did you think of perhaps having a crowd funding campaign (on like Kickstarter.com or Fundster.com) to help defray the cost of the retreat? I have learned over the past year that, contrary to what I used to believe when I was younger and lacking in self confidence, people can be pretty awesome if you appeal to them in the right way. There’s no way open-hearted individuals can hear you describe that incredible retreat, and not want to help you reach your goal. I’d sure as heck be the first to contribute! Please forgive me (for this wordy commentary), and if I seem pushy – that’s not my intention at all; I’m just genuinely excited to hear about your up-coming trip. YOU ARE LIVING THE DREAM! Take care and enjoy your summer…and WOW! BALI!!


    • Melanie says:

      Thank you so much! I’m beyond excited and have much to do in the next few months. I thought about crowd funding, just briefly. But I felt uncomfortable with it and preferred to earn the money through my work. Good luck to you and your dream. See you at the Juneteenth Festival!

      • Mike G says:

        OK- I definitely respect that, and I’m sorry if I came off as a know-it-all jerk (not my intention). Well, I’ll check out your Fiverr offers then, and see what I can do to support. That’s an incredible opportunity, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who really wants to see you be able to really enjoy it (the preparation as well as the trip itself).

        Last question before I stop bugging you: Would it be appropriate for me to bring my copy of your book with me to the Juneteenth Festival and ask you to sign / autograph it? I’m afraid my etiquette may be a bit lacking in that area; I recently met an author and handed him a well worn copy of one of his books to sign. He was cool about it, but he let me know that “…usually folks buy the books at this type of event, and then get it signed”.
        But then some authors don’t mind you bringing your own copy; I thought I’d ask rather than risk (further) embarrassment.

        Take care,


        • Melanie says:

          Generally, yes, the event/bookstore wants you to purchase on site. But I don’t mind if you bring your copy. I’m happy that you bought it already and want me to sign it! 😉 Looking forward to meeting you!

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