The joy of the Maine write-cation

Two deer by a lake at sunset

I got a couple of visitors outside the cabin the other night, but I left them alone for the most part and they left me alone.

As you read this, and as I write it, I’m in a cabin in Piscataquis County. Wifi is spotty so I’ll keep it short.

Not that I have to make excuses — I’m on a write-cation, and if you get what that means, then you’ll get that, as much as I like you, I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking to you.

People who don’t get it, before I left, told me how crummy the weather was going to be, how muddy things were, how there’d still be snow on the ground. Don’t care. Don’t care. And don’t care.

I’m here to spend some cozy time alone with my book. While it might have been possible to do that at home, the true write-cation involves getting away from everything that pulls at your brain except the book. While some people have referred to those as “distractions,” it’s more than that. Basically, I don’t want to have to talk to anyone, think about anything that I don’t want to think about or do anything I don’t want to do. It’s all about the book.

It’s ideal that I’m staying where the book is set. Not only because of setting, which I know, I write about a lot. But also because the book has been going through my brain like a movie for months, so I want to be where it is, see the people and the places.

Bowerbank Town Hall, with the town office behind it. The town office/tax collector’s winter hours are every other Saturday 9 a.m. to noon.

It’s a departure from Bernie O’Dea series, and I’ll talk more about it some other time, but I do want to say this: You can’t fully write about Bowerbank unless you’ve seen Bowerbank. I mean, driven down the muddy roads to the lake, peered into the woods. It’s about more than setting, it’s about bringing the book to life.

You can read about Maine, or even live in it, and not know or forget things like how ubiquitous deer are this time of year, when the snow first melts and they want to nibble what’s underneath. And how they can melt into the woods when you stop the car to take a photo and you look at the photo later and say “Wasn’t there a deer?”

I drove to Lakeview because I’d never been there before. Just to see what it was like. There’s a lake, yeah, and there’s also a view. It’s a tiny cluster of houses and what looks like a former Grange hall or something similar at the end of Schoodic Lake with a spectacular view of our favorite Maine mountain. Well, hello, Katahdin! Look at you!

Lakeview. Who knew?

Something I never would’ve seen unless I took that drive. And I gotta say, a much better payoff than the time I drove to Cornville to see what a town named Cornville looked like.

We talk a lot about living and writing in the great state of Maine. I know I write in this blog a ton about it. It can’t be said enough: If you’re writing about Maine, or just living here, get out and see it and spend some time in a place you’ve never been before. Explore. Soak it up. Even if you don’t have a book going through your head like a movie, you’ll be the better for it.

I also took the opportunity to donate some of my books to the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft and the Milo Public Library — so if you live in beautiful Piscataquis County and want to get an idea of how I’m going to treat you when this book is finally done, check them out.

I feel bad I have to leave Saturday. I have a lot more writing to do and the likelihood of getting another opportunity like this, given work, money and other things, is about nil.

So, on that note, I’ll get going. My book awaits.

About Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at She hosts the podcast Crime&Stuff with her sister Rebecca Milliken.
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4 Responses to The joy of the Maine write-cation

  1. Plenty to experience up heah, for sure.

  2. Agree, agree, agree. And envious. I am in dire need of a write-cation. Write on, Mo!

  3. Hey, Maureen. I’m a friend of Susan Vaughan, a huge fan of Maine–visiting almost every year, and I pop by this blog every so often. Your title caught my attention. My writing chapter has sponsored a writing retreat in the past that has worked well for me. From Friday afternoon through Sunday noon, I can crank out 15 to 17 K words. I totally get you about just focusing on the book. Even my pup who I adore distracts. It’s a luxury to do this, and I haven’t been able to in a while. I’ve set one of my books in Vermont and one in Maine. Setting for me, and apparently you, too, becomes a character. Good luck with finishing this book.

  4. Scott Caron says:

    Lakeview has a lot of history. I am sure there is a story or two there waiting for your next visit!

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