Scheduling time to write creatively is a difficult task for most authors. It’s a selfish endeavor, hiding from the world, shirking responsibilities, ignoring the family. But it’s also a necessary endeavor. Without writing time, we don’t produce books. If we don’t produce books, we don’t make money. I don’t know about you, but writing books is my business, so I’d better make money.
Time for writing usually comes in small chunks. You grab a few hours and escape to a porch swing or a cafe. There, insulated from others and the Internet, you can focus on your work.
If writing during small chunks of time isn’t working for you, consider a “writer’s retreat.” No, I’m not talking about fancy, expensive conferences where authors and agents gather to promote services to each other. I’m talking about private, “me time,” which is especially helpful when you’re near the end of a project and need a kick in the pants to finish.
Last year, my friend Janice kicked me in the butt and made me wrap up “Distracted,” my first novel, by inviting me to spend a free week at her timeshare resort. She suggested the trip when her husband couldn’t take time off from work, and it was a use-it or lose-it situation.
His loss was my gain. We stayed at a picturesque log cabin by a half-frozen lake in the mountains of Virginia. Yes, my writing retreat was a small, informal event, but the rules were laid out in advance – get up, write as much as possible, then spend a couple of hours each day exploring the town and nearby wineries. We also spent one full day in Washington, D.C., visiting the National Archives and having dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill with our children, both who lived and worked in D.C. at the time.
If you’re not a writer, but you know one who could use a retreat, consider taking your friend away for a long weekend. Isolate her in a cabin or motel room with no Internet and no cell phone. Then, each day wake your friend up, push her to the table to write, go do your own thing, remind her to eat, and tuck her in at night. That’s what my pal did. I owe her!
Retreats can be as simple as a few hours in a quiet spot, a weekend away or even a weeklong escape. The priority is to have space and opportunity you need to work on your book with no distractions.
If you wish to take a retreat (an afternoon or a weekend), but can’t get away from home, consider getting “spiritually away.” Pick up “The Writer’s Retreat Kit: A Guide to Creative Exploration & Personal Expression” by Judy Reeves. It’s an excellent source of inspiration and I use it often. Visit Judy’s site here: http://judyreeveswriter.com/writers-retreat-kit.
DIY Writer’s Retreat by Robin Van Auken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.robinvanauken.com.