Do you want uninterrupted space and an extended time period to focus on your writing project? While a writing retreat can provide that, this year you might not have the time or budget to partake in one.
Instead, consider creating your very own personal writing retreat. I do this a couple of times a year to give my writing projects that TLC they deserve.
Here are my tips for holding your very own personal writing retreat:
1. Choose an inspirational setting – Select a setting where you’ll have the inspiration to focus on your writing. I like to go to in nature, because if I’m in an interesting city, I end up visiting museums and shopping - not great for my book or my budget. If I’m at a country lodge, I can find the internal calm (and lack of distractions) that I need to focus. My favorite places include Lake Tahoe, Arizona, New Mexico and California. Now that I live in Germany, I often go to beautiful places like Umbria, Italy and Majorca, Spain. What place inspires and focuses you? You might even consider going to a place that will help you get into your character’s head, e.g., New Orleans if you are writing a mystery set in the south.
2. Set an inspirational week goal (the week before) and realistic day goals.
Set a visionary goal for your writing retreat. What will get you motivated to spend a couple of days writing? An outline of a new book, character backstories or a specific page count?. After you write each day, create a writing goal that is tailored to your writing rhythm. You might find you need to snooze an afternoon, but are jazzed to write all night. I’m not good at knowing how much I’ll accomplish in a day, but I have a good sense that I’ll be able to write after breakfast to about 4 p.m. with a comfortable lunch and walk in middle.
3. Tell others you’re on an important business trip. Let others know you won’t be available during your writing time, because in fact, you doing the most important business of all – working on your writing. Turn your phone and internet also off at this time so you can the electronic support you might need.
4. Chose a hotel where you feel safe, pampered and supported. I don’t like to worry about a thing other than getting my characters in compelling scenes. I choose places with healthy food choices and friendly staff. Be choosy where you stay.
Some hotels offer writing workshops during the week, have well-stocked libraries and host writers in residence. I visited the Betsy Hotel in Miami last December and was inspired by its literary volumes and writing workshops.
5. Set up accountability during the week.
Do you have a writing buddy, usually work with writing coach or have an editor? Set up a call or two with them this week so that you can review the exciting developments in your storyline or pages written with them.
Treating yourself to time and space to work on your writing in a magical setting can catapult your project to the next level and get it ready for publishing.
Try it and let us know where you go and any tips you have.