This past weekend I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to take part in something new for me: a writers’ retreat. I didn’t attend the first one the Ascribe writers’ group had organized because I figured, hey, I can write by myself at home any time, can’t I? But after listening to the comments made by members when the group met up after the retreat, I realized I had missed the point.
The point of a writers’ retreat is to get away for the sole purpose of doing nothing but concentrating on your writing. Seems fairly obvious, right? What I didn’t think about – until I took note of what I did in the same time the group was away, were all the interruptions that occur in the course of writing at home. Most of them are so automatic you don’t even notice them: making a meal, running to the store for something last minute, doing that chore on the weekend you didn’t have time to get to during the week, gassing up the car, returning library books. The list goes on, full of little weekend projects and chores that stop the flow of creativity before it even gets a chance to get started. All those little jobs that call out to be done, all those little snippets of time add up, and before you know it, the weekend is ending, and once again you never got to work on that blog, short story, or novel.
Here’s where a writers’ retreat is brilliant: you are not niggled by guilt to do any small jobs or quick chores; you have a space dedicated to work; and you need not stop for anything except when you feel like taking a break. [Read more…]