There are still a lot of unknowns in this world when it comes to travel and gatherings. I’ve reached the point of even postponing the planning portion of my wedding party (my husband and I decided to just get married at a UPS on Star Wars day because we could). Gatherings just aren’t in the cards.
But we still need a bit of a break from the hectic world… or maybe even a productive break. Conferences and events might be cancelled but you can still find a way to escape.
I’ve personally been working on setting up the boundaries to create my own writing retreat. While I get to write throughout the week, there’s nothing like striking down all distractions and getting away for a little bit. With travel restricted, though, I’ve come up with some strategies to make a writing retreat at home. Here’s how you can plan your own as well.
Find some seclusion
The point of a retreat is to get away, but you can still get some space without traveling far. Really, this is about eliminating distractions by creating your own seclusion. If you can’t leave the house, set up a space in your home where you won’t be disturbed — either your office, bedroom, or even outside. If you’re in a position to leave, consider getting a hotel room or finding a local cabin you can rent for the weekend. Just make sure people know you’re not to be bothered.
Your seclusion might be for an entire weekend or just a few hours. Sometimes just getting a little space and quiet is enough to recharge you.
Prepare your supplies
If you’re staying home, there’s no harm in forgetting your writing supplies. Otherwise, you need to make sure you pack everything you might need during your retreat. Here are some things you might want.
Prepare what you’re going to write
A writer’s retreat is meant to be an experience of writing and learning (and connection, but we can’t exactly get that right now). It can be incredibly frustrating to set out on this retreat mission and realize you have no idea what you’re writing. Or perhaps that’s freeing to you. Either way, having some idea of what you’re going to work on will help make it a better experience in case you draw a blank.
Notebook and pen
There’s nothing like putting a pen to paper. One of my favorite writing relaxers is to take my notebook out to a secluded spot on a nature trail and just write. Sure, there might be a few hikers, but for the most part you can just be in the peace and quiet of nature. A notebook and pen are the perfect distraction-free writing tools.
Some people work better at the keyboard. You might not want to take your computer out into the middle of the wilderness but you can utilize it when you’re inside. Let your fingers fly and try to avoid the backspace key. Relax into your writing.
If you can avoid the social media sites, you might be able to work with Internet. Some people need it for research in their writing. Be sure if you’re heading out, your new location has an Internet option. You don’t want to be stuck without service when you really need to access research.
At normal writing retreats or conferences, the point is to learn something new. Come prepared with some books to read or even look into MasterClass or other online classes. You can always use that time to learn and apply those tactics to your writing.
Every writer needs their fuel, be that tea, coffee, or snacks. Come prepared with plenty of things to munch on to keep your body happy and your mind in peak condition.
Your writing retreat should be loose and fun, not rigid and forceful (unless you have a deadline). This is where you should ease back on your inner editor and just enjoy the time. Release some of the pressure of making everything perfect. It’s your time to reconnect with the passion you have for your writing.
Start a new project just for fun. Test out something new in your writing. Just sit back and read. The writing retreat can help you find that love again and just get a break.
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