Writing retreats are wonderful opportunities to let go of everyday life and concentrate on writing, writing, writing. You can forget taking care of other people, going to work, paying bills and running errands. For the last four days I’ve indulged in a mini-writing retreat of my own.
Four days is a good chunk of time. Much more than that and you stop feeling like the time is precious. Less than that and you don’t gain enough momentum.
No, my retreat has been “mini” in terms of the actual retreat part because I didn’t go anywhere. K did, however. He’s been in Arizona playing golf and attending spring training games.
Unlike a staycation, which doesn’t really mean anything to me because I work at home and even take work with me when we go on VAcations, a home-based writing retreat does mean some significant changes in routine. Most of these changes reflect my favorite things about other writing retreats I’ve been on.
--No cooking. No cleaning. No yard work. No errands. No phone calls.
--Writing first thing in the morning with no eye on the clock.
--Very little Internet time. Minimal email. Minimal promotion.
--Writing any time and all the time during the day with no eye on the clock.
--Taking breaks by spending time in nature. On other retreats this has included wandering the beach, long walks by the river or on paths through an organic farm. Here I strode the bike path along the river, beside ponds, horse farms, and the butterfly meadow (still too chilly for butterflies, though).
--Solitude during the day – and then spending time in the evenings with other writers. This is a welcome aspect to many writing retreats, and by pure serendipity I had one writers group meeting scheduled for Monday night, and then another for Tuesday night.
--Writing late into the night with no eye on the clock.
--Feeling like I have a quota, a manageable quota in a manageable window of time.
-The ability to focus, focus, focus.
--The luxury of playing with a few new ideas and new project possibilities in the midst of revising my latest book.
I’m happy K is returning tonight. The washer is churning, my to-do list looms, my inbox is groaning, and I know the rest of the week will slide back into a normal routine – which still includes a lot of writing. But it’s been nice, for a few days, to take everything else off my plate. In the meantime, K won’t be home until late, so I’m going to join Minerva on the window seat and set down just a few more words.