Carving Out A Home Writing Retreat

The phone rings. the​ laundry pleads to​ be stuffed,​ cycled,​ dried and folded. Chaos reigns in​ the​ kitchen,​ e-mails queue for attention. Our lives are at​ once mundane and undeniably seductive at​ the​ same time. When we​ sit down to​ write at​ home,​ suddenly everything that marks our existence as​ tedious becomes compelling. Writing at​ home can seem tantamount to​ training for the​ Olympics past age nineteen.

Yet carving out time to​ write at​ home is​ possible. You can even design a​ home writing retreat. This weekend,​ I have staved off all other obligations and have Friday and Saturday free. I look forward to​ delving into my novel revision with hours of​ uninterrupted time. How to​ make sure I don’t veer into work mode. I’ve developed a​ strategy for an​ at​ home writing retreat. Here are the​ ways that you,​ too,​ can carve out space for uninterrupted writing bliss.

Look ahead a​ month or​ two in​ your calendar. Find a​ day or​ two that are free and X them out for your retreat. When people suggest a​ get together on​ those days,​ say no. They’re full with something more important. it​ is​ vital to​ guard these days.

The week before,​ act as​ if​ you are going out of​ town. Take care of​ all the​ work and home obligations that need your attention. Think about what needs to​ be taken care of​ when you are flying the​ coop – pet and plant care,​ clothes for the​ trip,​ etc. Make sure your work is​ done by the​ day before so you can take the​ time guilt-free.

Devise a​ plan. Consider your ideal writing retreat. First,​ think about what you are retreating from. Make a​ list of​ the​ roles you play in​ life: mother,​ spouse,​ employee,​ and writer. Give yourself permission to​ take time off from those roles to​ focus on​ one role. This weekend,​ I will set aside business owner,​ writer and teacher to​ be novelist for two days.

Have a​ focus for your time. You may wish to​ work on​ one creative project or​ several,​ but know beforehand what this time is​ devoted to. This will help when you enter the​ writing zone to​ get down to​ work right away.

Enroll allies. Alerting your people to​ your plans will make it​ easier to​ keep your boundaries. if​ your retreat means simply that you are stowed away in​ your bedroom or​ office while the​ rest of​ the​ family goes about their day,​ make sure they know that your do not disturb sign means just that. Better yet,​ help plan an​ outing for them so they can have their own adventure while you write. Who do you need to​ let in​ on​ your plan so they don’t inadvertently try to​ thwart your efforts?

Get your vittles lined up. Plan for your nibbling needs. Make sure to​ have healthy snacks on​ hand. Prepare meals in​ advance or​ plan to​ order out so you can eat well but not get distracted by food preparation.

Be more than a​ walking head. Have a​ plan for being embodied. You may plan walks into your retreat,​ simple yoga or​ your regular workout.

Commit to​ tune out. You may want to​ unplug the​ phone,​ commit to​ leave your e-mail program off for the​ day and silence your cell phone. What other things do you need to​ set aside to​ be on​ retreat?

Give yourself a​ break with evening recreation. You’ll want a​ break by evening. What activities will nurture your writer? You could rent a​ film about a​ writer or​ artist to​ inspire you. You could have a​ juicy book waiting to​ read.

Consider other activities that support your writing. if​ you went to​ a​ retreat center devoted to​ writers,​ what would you want to​ see? Inspiring books about the​ writing life or​ writing craft,​ favorite quotes,​ photos of​ writers who are role models may all be part of​ your writing retreat. Background music that encourages your creativity might help.

Being on​ retreat doesn’t mean being holed up at​ home. if​ working in​ a​ cafe or​ at​ the​ library supports your writing,​ plan for excursions out of​ the​ house. . Watch out for the​ errand monkey,​ who will try to​ yank you around town on​ a​ bunch of​ his missions!

Give yourself permission to​ step out of​ your norm. Take this time to​ focus and be in​ full creative mode. a​ retreat of​ even a​ few hours can be a​ huge boon to​ progress on​ your writing. Have fun and make it​ work for you.

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