Writing Retreat

I just booked a weekend in a tiny cabin in the hills about a 20 min. drive from where I live. It’s cheaper than a hotel, has a little kitchenette, a redwood deck, and surrounding woods, and is located on an organic educational farm. For one weekend in October, I’ll have almost 48 hours of quiet in which to write.

The long span of time seems somehow hallowed. A daunting gift. The most set-aside writing time I’ve had in a row (since kids) is about eight hours–before non-stop chattering and boisterous jumping returned. My first instinct is to wish for a writing friend to share it with, but the wee cabin is a solitary retreat. Of course I have idyllic visions of getting loads of work done AND relaxing completely, but I’m not sure that will happen.

Any advice for the retreating writer? Any ways I can prepare?

5 thoughts on “Writing Retreat

  1. Awesome. I cannot tell you how envious I am. My advice would be to plunge in and do some sort of writing work immediately, before unpacking or doing any kind of settling in (beyond making a cup of tea or coffee if you need one), so that you build on that initial feeling of excitement and possibility. Plan some breaks where you go for walks or pick organic produce or whatever, but think of them as breaks from writing, that should fuel another session, so don’t wear yourself out on long hikes (unless you’re hyperactive and need to be a little tired in order to sit down and write). I wish there were hills a twenty-minute drive from where I live.

  2. When I have gone on my hotel nights, it has been best when I’ve been truly ready to write. When I’m in more of a reading stage, I enjoy it, but the time seems quickly sucked away into “not writing.” One time, I read good stuff and got a better sense of my argument, but then I had to leave and forgot a lot of what I read because I didn’t get a chance to write.

    So, I would advise to try to be ready to write with maybe just a couple articles to tackle if need be. If you do spend time reading, your mind will be firing better than usual so be sure to capture the ideas in notes or, better yet, by incorporating your reading into the draft before you leave.

    I usually plan to stop by 10:00pm so I can watch a movie.

    For me, as a working mom, the desire to relax and nap and read for pleasure is tremendous, but I have typically overcome it and, in the end, worked productively most of time except for the late-night movie.

    I’m hoping for a hotel night before long! Maybe November.

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