The four of us drove to a cottage in a town not far from where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers join for a weekend writer’s retreat. What an awesome setting and a great time we had! There was much laughter and writing as we worked together on our individual projects.
As a mother of younger children (who I love dearly, mind you), these retreats not only give me time to think (and to go to the bathroom alone!), but for precious uninterrupted writing time. It is great to get in the groove and be able to stay there for a long stretch without having to answer a homeschooling question or change a dirty diaper or stir the Crockpot. It is also good for the family to experience life without mom for a while and then appreciate me more when I get home (who doesn’t want that?!). It’s a win, win!
There’s something about getting together with likeminded writers and spending a weekend together. We always bring way too much food, and stuff the refrigerator with enough food to feed a small town. And we share jokes and stories from our families and talk about books we’ve read or are reading now.
Going on retreat also gives me time to think through a novel in progress, or what direction another project needs to go, or about a character’s background or a host of other things that need serious quiet thinking. And the time away energizes me to keep going and to figure out goals for the next conference or retreat.
Getting away from regular routine living is always refreshing and can help creativity flourish. It’s also a great way to ask each other questions and get input on wherever we are on our books. We seem to feed off each other which inspires us to get more work done.
Other Retreat Possibilities
Maybe a whole weekend away is not in your future or possible economically. But there are other ways to go on ‘retreat’—many of them free or for just a few dollars. Perhaps a trip to the local library for a peaceful work atmosphere would satisfy, or reading a book in a quiet café or jazz bar can rejuvenate your spirit. Being outdoors in nature is always a good bet. Just sitting in the sunshine with a book works for me. Another idea is to visit a park depending on the weather to people watch or read a book. Do something you enjoy for a few hours either alone or with a friend without feeling guilty. It’s important to fill ourselves up, especially as women or mothers who might have little ones who constantly need us.
What works for you? How do you ‘retreat’ from life for a while? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you and get new ideas.