As the empty suitcase yawns at me this question arises. Thankfully I've been to a writer's retreat before and so I have a good idea of what to throw into that shrinking abyss. Since it's in Hawaii the temptation to throw in all my cute shoes and clothes is tough to fight. However, with the rising cost of checked luggage I will be limiting myself to one checked bag, one carry on, and of course my laptop.
The thing I have to remember here is that a retreat is all about improving my book. Therefore I must take everything necessary to achieve that end. This means not only my computer, but a printer, a lot of paper, extra ink, and all the appropriate cables and plugs. Not much room left for my favorite wedge sandals. Not knowing what parts of the book we'll be working on I must remember to have my query letter ready, my synopsis, a chapter index, an outline, and oh yeah, the manuscript! Thankfully these don't need to be hard copies, whew! Having all these things already done and saved as documents on my computer will give me a huge jump on any homework at the retreat.
With all that done I'll throw in the last few necessities, a book to read during the flight and some sunblock, then I'll be ready to go!