As most of you will recall, about a month ago my cousin and fellow writer-in-arms, Marsha Blevins, attended the WV Writers Conference. In my blog post about it I gushed about how much fun it was, but also how scenic and beautiful the place was, as well as the abundance of writing spots. We both discussed returning to Cedar Lakes sometime in the Fall for our own little writer’s retreat. Coincidentally, I was looking through one of my recent issues of Writer’s Digest and came across an article about doing that very thing. In the article, “Take Your Writing Away,” by Steve Holt, he gives some excellent tips on how to make the most of your time away. They are as follows…
1) Set specific goals! You must have more of a clear purpose for going other than “to write.” Holt suggests setting goals like writing four chapters, complete edits on finished novel, etc.
2) Choose the location carefully. For some, the more remote the better. However, if one is in need of wifi for research purposes, then consider a place that offers wifi or one that is fairly close to a library or coffee shop with access to wifi. Holt warns, however, that if you go the bustling coffee shop type route, be aware of how you’re spending your time and don’t get caught up in the midst of it all.
3) Sketch out a daily schedule! If you were on a group retreat, you’d receive an itinerary to keep you on task. Make one for yourself!
4) Make it a reading retreat as well. Holt says,”You can’t write every second of every day. Reading writing that inspires you is the next best thing.”
5) Be healthful! While you might be tempted to hole up with bags of junk food and bottles of wine, don’t. He suggests that even though this is a writing retreat, you can also use it to focus some on your own wellness. Your creativity will thank you for it.
6) Leave your other work at home! ‘Nuff said!
7) Finally, he suggests reflecting on your routine. Take note of the different times of day when you write when you are most productive. Then consider how you could incorporate that into your routine at home.
These really are some great tips and I’ll definitely implement them when and if I do manage to make that retreat this Fall. Is there anything you think you would add to the do’s and don’ts of your own writing retreat?