Brown thinks best when away.
Literary agent Andrea Brown's travel guide, Writers' & Artists' Hideouts: Great Getaways for Seducing the Muse, offers both practical advice for anyone in need of creative refreshment and a list of nearly 600 hostelries certain to nurture your inner Shakespeare, Picasso, or Einstein.
Q What kinds of creative tasks, besides writing or painting, are best accomplished on a retreat like this?
A A lot of people make plans for the upcoming year or set goals for themselves in their careers or relationships.
Q What makes for a good hideout?
A It has to be soothing and tranquil with few distractions but good views. There's a place in Oklahoma designed by Frank Lloyd Wright where the rooms have these huge prairie views that go on for miles. You must be able to get outside and go for a walk. You'll also need a desk or table to work on, good light, and a bed that's comfortable but not so comfortable that you spend too much time in it.
Q At what stage in the process can a retreat make a big difference?
A When facing a deadline, of course. But it's also helpful when you have a great idea but haven't had the time to settle down and pay attention to it.
Q You recommend Palm Springs, Calif., in the summer. Why?
A You won't be tempted to go outside—it's just too hot. You'll stay in the cool, air-conditioned room and create. And it's cheaper off season.
Q What if you can't afford a big getaway or don't have the time to travel?
A Borrow somebody else's house. Go to a nice hotel in town. Get away.
Photography by David Royal/Monterey County Herald
This article was first published in March 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.