It is almost here… One last sleep before I depart for my yearly week-long writers retreat. You may recall my blog in early March when I expressed my trepidation about this same retreat. Now, I am happy to report that I have a rejuvenated spirit and I am excited to arrive, burrow into my room, and start a routine of sustained, productive writing. Why the shift? Well, in-part, and this may sound weird to some folks, the entire week is forecasted to be rain-filled and miserable. How does this translate into a positive retreat experience you might ask? Well, because my ‘day job’ involves working with horses outdoors, I find focusing on writing particularly challenging when the weather is nice, So much so that I am constantly having to drown out that little voice in my head, “you should be outside riding your horses”. Now, that I know with some degree of certainty that I won’t be missing out on beautiful spring riding weather, I can concentrate on my writing.
The other reason for my attitude shift is one of my good friends, who is an accomplished author, suggested I start a new, fun, light writing project for this retreat. The intention being, it just might get my creative juices flowing again. And it has! For these past few days leading up to the retreat, I’ve been working on character development and having lots of fun and success with this creative process.
So here I am, feeling more confident and armed with a renewed sense of ‘what’ I want to accomplish. This should help me avoid obvious rookie blunder #1 – ‘turning up for a writing retreat with no plan for what I want to accomplish’. Having a clear plan will therefore allow me to avoid rookie blunder #2 – ‘wasting the first half of the retreat deciding on how to best maximize my week’.
There’s one rookie blunder I have never made though, and that is ‘under-packing’. And this applies to everything in my life! Yes, I confess, I tend to over-pack. A personal rule that I seemed to have developed over my lifetime is ‘you can never have enough’. I not only apply this rule to clothes shopping (insert laughter here), but also to the number of reference books I should pack for a writers retreat. The more experienced writers would probably suggest that I bring only a few key books. I struggle defining which books are key and instead want to bring them all. I am currently staring at my book bag filled to capacity and realize, ‘I may have over-packed’. Tomorrow I will pair it back.
Another blunder I want to avoid is failing to mix in a few valued breaks from writing throughout the week. I have come to learn that a few intentional and varied ‘retreats’ from my retreat really help with my writing. So, I’ve loaded my Kindle with some leisurely reading, which of course, includes some horse related stories. This year the retreat includes a few educational workshops from various presenters too. And, I have volunteered each morning to lead a twenty-minute light cardio and stretch class; this should help keep us fit and productive. Overall I am feeling very positive about the upcoming retreat and I look forward to telling you all about it next week.
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
Have a great week!