How To Do a Writing Retreat

We mermaids have had some pretty fun writing retreats in our time. We’ve stayed extra days after the WRW retreat in Westminster, MD. We also got derailed by Hurricane Sandy at a beach house in Ocean City. Each retreat (while it lasted) yielded writing time that was focused, productive. And uninterrupted.pintip

The other day, I was thinking I could use a writing retreat right about now. I’m closing in on “The End” on my WIP, and all I need is a little push to get there. Sadly, there wasn’t one that was magically on the schedule. So I thought: why not have one of my very own?

Here’s how I’m doing it:

1. Clear my schedule. I talked to the important people in my life. Figured out which responsibilities I could get out of with a little juggling. The non-negotiable items I marked in my calendar. The rest of the time I’m reserving for writing.

2. Find a place to go. You don’t have to go out of town to do a writing retreat. In fact, I’m not, on account of my non-negotiable responsibilities. But while I will be sleeping in my own bed at night, I think a change of scenery is definitely important for my mind-set. I decided to go to my local library, from opening to closing.

3. Make a commitment to say “no.” Something will come up during the retreat time. It always does. But whatever it is, I’m going to say “no.” I’ve already determined which things are non-negotiable. Everything else can wait until after the retreat.

4. Prepare. I am packing plenty of snacks, water, warm clothes, charger, notes, iPhone, chapstick. Everything I could possibly need to be comfortable. I’m also going to get plenty of sleep at night, so that there’s no physical excuse (hungry, cold, tired) to stop me from getting the words on the page.

And that’s it! I did a test run of my “writing retreat” yesterday, with fantastic results. The official retreat is this week. Wish me luck!

What about you? Have you ever been to a writing retreat, or created one of your very own? Where did you go, and how much did you get accomplished?

Oh, and if I’m not responding to blog comments? You know where I am and what I’m doing. 🙂

8 thoughts on “How To Do a Writing Retreat

  1. Hey, Pintip, do you want to grab lunch and a movie today? hahaha.
    I think your writing retreat is an awesome idea. Here’s my problem. I apparently work best in pure chaos. When I was under a deadline to finish the first round of revisions on my book a couple weeks ago, I almost had a nervous breakdown. So, enter friends…who took my kids away so that I could have uninterrupted writing time. Earlier that day, I wrote a whole scene on my iPhone in the bleachers at a soccer game. I wrote during lunch while my kids fought over straws and spit balls. Then later, when I had blissful peace??? Nothing! I couldn’t write a single word. Then I thought to myself: “Self, you need a glass of wine.” I headed over to my kitchen drawer where we keep the corkscrew, but I couldn’t figure out how to use it. My husband usually has that job, and he was off camping with the youngest three. And I thought to myself: “Self, you can’t even get yourself drunk correctly! How are you going to write a freaking book?!”
    Okay. That was lots of rambling. But the good news is that I’ll be able to join you at the library all week so we can chat and catch up. 🙂 I just scared you, didn’t I?
    Seriously, I will join you, but it will be at my kitchen table. And hopefully my husband can make sure I have a glass of wine later.

  2. Me time? Carving out time is the challenge of the ages, namely my children’s ages. I like your suggestions and will imagine them happening.

  3. Pintip, what an amazing idea! It’s so great to refocus and force yourself into the writing groove. I do daily retreats at the moment — and my big trick is LEAVING MY HOUSE. I’ve found a couple of libraries that are lovely, because I, too, struggle with pastry temptation at Panera!! 🙂

  4. Love this Pintip Mermaid and here’s a “You Go Girl!” for taking charge and creating your own retreat. I think this will inspire many of us to do the same. Hoping to get an update post from you post-retreat to let us know how it went. Libraries Rock! Good luck!!!!

  5. Hello everyone! Thanks for your comments today. You are all so wonderful and encouraging. I am happy to report that the writing retreat today was also a fabulous success. Only a few more days to go! I hope I can keep up the momentum. Xxx

  6. What a great idea, Pintip! I am keeping this in my bag of tricks and using it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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