I’m back, energized and inspired, from my writing retreat last week. It was a wonderful four days—shorter than I had planned, but it was still a great experience!
I did morning pages for the first time in years (and I’ve kept doing them—some days—since I came home.)
I wrote blog posts—for the first time in the history of my life coaching blog, I have blog posts ready to post weeks in advance of when they will be published. I have always wanted to be that organized person who posts way in advance and, at least for a little while, I am!
I wrote about my main character in my novel. I’m not sure how much of what I’ve written will be part of the novel itself, but it’s all back-story that I needed to explore. It was really fun to dive into this work and to get to know my protagonist.
I wrote a couple of drafts of a new short story that I hope to eventually submit for publication and sent that off to my critique group for their input.
I created coaching worksheets and planned and outlined my next few life coaching talks. Thinking about my presentations so far in advance allowed me to do see where I need to do more research and how I can incorporate more interactive tools into the presentation (always more fun!)
I relaxed—a lot. I went swimming in the lap pool and I snow-shoed in the frigid mountain air. I sat around the dinner table with my companions and had conversations that felt honest, true, and important.
I was surprised by how many ideas I got for my writing while I was swimming and snow-shoeing. Away from the to-do lists of my daily life, story ideas and blog post ideas kept popping into my head. I plan to try to recreate that opportunity for creativity by consciously clearing my mind before I head out for a run, a walk, or a swim.
By the end of my time away, I realized that the writing retreat was a wonderful gift and I saw that I could still get my writing done once I was home. Most of the writing I did while I was away happened in short bursts. There was only one afternoon where I wrote for 4 hours straight—the rest of the time, I wrote for an hour or two, went and did something else, came back to that piece or moved on to another piece. While I’m not going to have a lot of four-hour blocks of time to write in my near future, I will definitely have 1-2 hours a couple times a week!
Spending this time away concentrating on my writing gives me a feeling that I have a jump on my writing goals for 2014. I’m excited for what the rest of the year will bring.
How can you create a writing retreat for yourself—even if it’s just for a few hours?
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, mother, life coach, and family physician. I can no longer believe the myth “I need more time to write” because I just had four full days and I still jumped from one thing to another, something I do all the time in my normal, daily life. That’s good news!