I recently went on a writing retreat. I didn’t have the money to go anywhere so I just planned to stay home and write, revise really. My process is to write without revising to get the rough draft, and then read it through making comments only, no revision. Then I will act on the comments. It’s my process and it works for me. So I had a rough draft that I had read through and made some comments on. I originally planned two days for the ‘retreat’, but the weather made me change my plans. I had a doctor’s appointment on the Thursday, which is why I took it off work. I figured why go to work for one day and took the Friday as well. It turned out that the forecast for that Saturday was rain, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to mow the lawn that day. Since Thursday was supposed to be sunny, I decided to mow that day instead and cut my retreat to Friday. Try to work in flexibility into any plan that you make. You will be happier for it.
Friday I had open. I made an appointment with myself to spend that day revising my novel. I planned the day carefully. I set myself a schedule. I would get up at six am, feed the cat, and do my morning routine, including walking for two miles. Then I was going to sit down with my net book and open my novel file and revise for three or four hours. I would take breaks, as I needed to, including an hour for lunch. Then I would do the same in the afternoon. I think it went well.
Did I actually go anywhere? No, I stayed home and didn’t answer the phone or the door. I was on my back deck, working on my writing. I didn’t have any distractions. I wore headphones and listened to music while I worked, but that is all that I did. The music was stuff that I have stored on my computer. I just played it through the media player. I got a lot done on that draft. I am well pleased with the result of my retreat.
I know what you are thinking. I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed home. That’s because the retreat that I went on was a mental one. I just retreated from life for a day. It didn’t cost me anything to sit on my deck and revise my work. It isn’t hard to plan this kind of retreat. All you have to do is plan it. Make sure that you have a clear writing goal to accomplish and go for it. Don’t tell anyone that you are going to do this. Just find a place in your home where you can be comfortable. Don’t answer the phone or the doorbell. I didn’t tell anyone I had that day off, I just took it and ‘retreated’. I think it did me good. I may do it again sometime.
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