The holidays are over now and you just want to get away from everything and everyone for a few days. It’s the perfect time for a writing retreat to recharge your creative batteries. But you just spent an amount you’d rather not acknowledge on presents and food and booze and NYE glitter; how on earth can you afford to get away for a weekend? Now’s the time to put your creativity to the test!
Writing retreats are one of my favorite things ever. I’ve done them in several different ways. My favorite is to book a room at a remote lodge that serves 3 meals a day so I don’t have to think about anything except writing and wandering through nature. Though that doesn’t exactly fit the “on a budget” part of this equation. But stretch your imagination juuuuust a little bit and the payoff will be enormous!
Getting away from your normal life for a week, or a weekend, or even just a day does wonders for your creativity and your overall mental well-being. Here are a few ideas to help plan a home writing retreat and get the most out of it.
Spend the week before your “retreat” cleaning and preparing
If you’re like me, you like to have your house neat and clean. But you absolutely must NOT do any cleaning or organizing or the like during your retreat. So clean what you need to before you start your in-home retreat. Wash your sheets so you have fresh, better-then-hotel clean bedding. Organize your desk and set out a notebook and nice pens for freehand writing. Choose a candle to burn. Be sure everything is where you need it and ready so you have an adulting-free weekend.
Plan your meals and cook them ahead of time
One of the great things about a writing retreat is not having to worry about cooking meals and cleaning up afterwards. Go grocery shopping the week before and prepare some freezer meals – food you can cook ahead of time then freeze, and just thaw and heat up when it’s time to eat. No time spent cooking, and it drastically cuts down on post meal clean up time.
I also suggest splurging on some of your favorite treats and snacks. Buy that flavored sparkling water. Buy the expensive coffee or fancy tea. Go ahead an eat an entire box of Cheez-Its over the course of the weekend (or your first night…not that I’d ever eat an entire box of Cheez-Its in a single sitting. Nope. Not me.)
Tell family and friends you’re unavailable
When I go away on a writing retreat, I tell my family and friends what I’m doing so they know not to expect to hear from me for a few days, or at the very least that any replies to emails/texts will be greatly delayed. I strongly recommend staying away from email and social media entirely during your retreat. Trust me, Facebook will survive without you for a few days. And turn off notifications for text messages. Tell people that if they truly need to reach you because of emergency to call you. The last thing you need is beeping of your phone interrupting your creative work and contemplation every couple of minutes.
Decide what you want to accomplish during your retreat…
Do you want to write a certain number of words or chapters? Edit some chapters? Write a short story? Think about what you want to do so you have some sort of plan to guide you through your gloriously relaxing writing weekend.
…But don’t get hung up on that plan
This retreat is supposed to be fun and inspiring. Your plan should not be set in stone. It’s just a guide to help you when you aren’t sure what to do next. But if you decide you want to go for an hour long walk through the park rather than write at any particular point in the weekend, go for it! Do what feels good – as long as it isn’t part of your normal routine. But do be sure to bring your notebook with you everywhere, just in case.
Have fun and relax
This is the most important part of your retreat. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. You should come out of the weekend feeling refreshed and ready to crush out more words like nobody’s business!
You can have an in-home writing retreat at any point during the year, obviously, but now is a great time to get your writing off on a great start. If you can’t spare a weekend, just set aside one full day, then plan a weekend a few months down the road. Mark it on your calendar now, though, so you won’t schedule something over it.
Have you ever done a writing retreat? What did you do during it? Drop a comment and let me know!
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