Black Hat and DEF CON, the annual back-to-back information security conferences, happened a few weeks ago in Las Vegas. The week is also known as Hacker Summer Camp. I skipped it this year. About a month earlier I’d been craving a change of scenery by way of a writing retreat. Formal, organized retreats weren’t working with my schedule so I decided to create my own. Big kudos go to my partner who found the perfect spot, a little out-of-the-way boutique hotel on Vancouver Island’s west coast. I think each of the Miss Demeanors have mentioned the valuable correlation between playing outside and creativity. My getaway was perfect in this regard. Days started with biking, hiking, kayaking, and even a couple of hours of zip-lining followed by hours of reading and writing with spectacular views of the ocean. An added bonus I didn’t count on was terrible Internet connectivity. For the first time in months I couldn’t get sidetracked by Twitter and email. The hotel had wifi but it was slower than what I’m used to and failed completely unless I was in one particular spot. It was in that spot I communicated with my lovely and fabulous agent (Paula) about current subs and new ideas. Maybe it was the view, the peace of a quiet so profound I could hear the fwap-fwap of a seagull’s footfall as it walked along the rocky shoreline, the lack of hyperdistraction, or, most likely, a combination of all the above. All I know is my imagination went into overdrive. At the end of the week I had an outline and 2 chapters of a new novel. The experience was such a success that I’ve already booked the same spot for next year. I can’t wait to go back to summer camp.