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Saturday, July 22, 2017

DIY Writing Retreats, or StayWriCations

I just made that up, StayWriCations, but if NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) can do it, so can I. 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. For those without young children at home, I recommend trying a Do-It-Yourself Writer's Retreat whenever you need to make a big push on a project. You have to warn your spouse that you're Not Available during certain hours, but presumably if you're a writer, he knows the drill -- the vacant stare, that lack of response to questions, the mumbling to yourself so that he can never tell if you're on the phone or dictating onto your phone.

For ideas and inspiration, I've found others doing the same. Here are some good articles on how-to DIY your Staycation writing retreat this summer. Every one of them mentions having a writing goal, to which I say YES!!

A Summer Personal Writing Retreat: Turning your home into your sanctuary
Writer Laura Munson defines her own personal Walden

Writer's Digest - Create Your Own Mini-Writing Retreat

E.M. Welsh's How to Have the Perfect Weekend Writer's Retreat

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.