I’m calling mine a StayWriCation, because I plan to host my solitary writer’s retreat here in the most comfortable, lovely place I can work — home. Many writers escape to rural retreats where they often share solitude (how is this possible?) with other writers in an unplugged, calm setting, in order to make progress on whatever they’re starting or working on. I can’t afford travel, hate planes and airports, miss my dog when I leave home, and insist on the comforts of a speedy Internet while writing. Writing retreats are not really designed for me.
So one year, I crafted my own StayWriCation. It was in November, and I had to finish final editing of a childhood memoir, so as to send out queries and snag an agent. I was determined to have pure, unadulterated, daily writing time — and what better place to have it than my sun-filled, high-ceilinged living room, with a wall of glass, a deck nestled under trees, with the roses I grow to water while thinking through plot points, hummingbirds whizzing over my head?
I developed a daily rhythm, working from 7 am until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and then taking myself out for fun, going places I normally don’t go. I treated my home, the San Francisco Bay Area, as if I were a tourist, wanting to see exciting things.
It worked like a dream. Novel writing is long and requires great concentration. For those without young children at home, I recommend trying a home-based, Do-It-Yourself Writer’s Retreat whenever you need to make a big push: first draft, first edits, approving publisher’s edits, etc. I don’t sit at a writing desk, but roam around the house and neighborhood using portable devices. My muse seems to enjoy a good walk or a lng shower. I’ve learned to memorize long chunks of writing until I can get to a computer.
You’ll have to warn your spouse that you’re Not Available during certain hours, but presumably if you’re a novelist, he knows the “I’m Writing” look — the vacant stare, lack of response to questions, mumbling to yourself. Mine says he can never tell if I’m talking to someone or dictating onto my phone. So he doesn’t like to interrupt me — great!
For ideas and inspiration, here are some articles on how-to DIY your writing retreat. Every one of them mentions having a writing goal, to which I say YES!!
Writer Laura Munson defines her own personal Walden
But don’t be limited. Dream your own perfect in-place writing retreat. Maybe it’s in a local cafe, a library, or like one of my friends, a hotel room so close to her home she can walk to it.
Happy writing! What’s your current writing goal? Write me if you like.