Strategic Retreats

20140208_165606I spent the weekend at a writing retreat with several of my colleagues.  I am all about retreats – mismatched yet comfy furniture, homemade food and plenty of time for navel gazing.  My colleagues got to see me in my jammies, which they no doubt appreciate.  Also, no kids the entire weekend, discounting the junior high youth group sharing quarters with us.  Plus, a pool!

The weather even “warmed up” so it was possible to be outside for almost an hour without exposed skin freezing.  (I really did get outside for an enlightening walk – more photographic evidence below.)

In the past (I’m talking pre-sabbatical), I’ve struggled with devoting big blocks of time to writing.  Even when I get past the logistics of setting aside uninterrupted time, I have to confront the voices saying there are better ways I “should” be spending my time.  Often I can quiet these monsters by closing the door and turning off Facebook, but my thoughts often stray to the outside world, where I imagine everyone else is engaged in productive work.

Let’s set aside the idea that writing is somehow not productive.  A) it is productive, even if it’s not always obvious and B) productivity is not necessarily the best standard of measurement for creative work.

The barrier that keeps me from writing sometimes, however, is the idea that I should be doing something else.  It’s difficult to give myself permission to sit down and write.  For two days, I didn’t have that problem.  For two days, I sat in a spacious room, chipping away at the second draft of my second novel, while over a dozen people sat in the same room, working on projects of their own.  Safety – and creativity – in numbers.  Plus, a pool!

20140208_170538   20140208_170851    20140208_170323

Barrier: the nagging voices that say your time could be better spent elsewhere than on the page

Solution: Writing retreat – browse for nearby retreat centers or in a pinch, grab a writing buddy and isolate yourselves in your living room for a few hours

*Special thanks to the folks at the Kendall Center who made this retreat possible.

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