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Going On A Writing Retreat

5 July, 2008

I read a lot of blogs by fiction authors and I’ve noticed recently that a lot of them have been taking what they refer to as ‘writing retreats’. Basically, this is taking a holiday, usually travelling away from home, with the express purpose of getting some quality writing time. This is, incidentally, something that I’m more-or-less going to be doing next week. More, because I’ll be getting loads of writing done, but less because that wasn’t initially why I planned to go away.

Clearly, the idea of taking a week off, with no distractions (read: no internet) isn’t going to be something that everyone can do, or even wants to do, but it must have its positives. Even now, I get slightly misty-eyed over the thought of just spending five days typing away. Soaring word-counts, time to just think about the story with no other distractions and the feeling that, just for a few days, I’m a real writer. It sounds like absolute bliss.

Well, maybe. The problem is that I, like many writers, have spent so long developing a writing schedule that fits around all my other daily activities, that I once I’m left just writing, I fear I might get a bit bored. I’ll have no cooking, housework, gardening or general errands to do. I’ll have no internet for procrastination. There’ll be just me and my laptop and the little blinking cursor, goading me to write something.

Thankfully, I believe there’s a happy compromise to be found. You see, my ‘writing retreat’ is actually a visit to my parents, who have just moved house and have no internet connection yet. So, fewer distractions. But, at the same time, there’ll be socialising to be done, old friends to meet up with and relatives to visit. I’ll be able to lounge around watching TV and not feel guilty. I’ll even be able to catch up with some reading. At the same time though, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to write, should I choose to take them.

So, maybe that’s the answer to having a successful writing holiday. Take a trip to see someone: maybe family, maybe writer friends. Just wherever you go, make sure you’ll have at least some time to write, as well as one or two distractions for when the words aren’t coming.

One Comment
  1. K. Jayne Cockrill permalink
    20 July, 2008 7:29 pm

    Excellent idea! I go on the occasional writer’s retreat myself, and it’s always fruitful. It also helps to go on retreats with other writers just to connect up and talk about the writing life. Join an online support group or something. I belong to Austin WriterGrrls (Yahoo Groups), and we throw about writing topics and such, and it really makes the life easier know there are so many out there who understand exactly where you’re coming from and what your distractions are. Anyway, good luck on your retreat. Hope you get (got) a lot done.


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