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  • Writer's pictureAshley Christiano

A trip of a lifetime

San Gimignano

My bonus had been in my checking account for less than 24 hours before I put a deposit down on something I've been dreaming about doing for about a year now: attending a writer's retreat.

I literally cried when I clicked the submit button. My cat looked at me like I was crazy. Which is pretty normal for our relationship.

In September I'll be heading to Tuscany for the Wide Open Writing retreat. Hosted at a farmhouse just outside of San Gimignano, it'll be a week of morning yoga, silent breakfasts, ample writing time, good wine, new friends, and amazing memories. To learn more about the organization, you can visit their website here: This trip will give me some much needed time to relax, find more about my creative self, make friends who share my dream, and send me off to the Italy for my first time.

With my first novel written and many of the major edits complete, I'm now in the process of finding an agent. It's all becoming real to me, my dreams on the verge of coming true. And all through my own dedication and creativity -- and the support of my family and friends, of course. I couldn't be more excited. Or nervous. Or proud. One of the things I've struggled with most over the past few years is finding balance: between work and play, friendship and alone time, being healthy and letting myself go. But mostly between nurturing my professional career and my literary aspirations. But I've come to learn that it's all about priorities. My day job pays the bills, allows me to go on fabulous adventures and connect with insanely smart people. And being able to do all of those things, and then come home to my little studio and my fluffy cat and write my heart out? I never really thought that I could do both, that I could have a successful career and also be a successful writer. But now? Now I think I can have it all. All it will take is patience, dedication, creativity, and a little bit of hustling. So stay tuned for more details on the retreat, my novel, and my continued career growth!


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