Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIY Writing Retreat

What do you do if you can't attend a writing conference this year?

I have a scheduling conflict with my favorite writing festival this year. It’s my yearly writing recharger: there are no editors or agents present, just local authors and poets. All the workshops are about craft and each time, I walk away renewed and reminded why I write: for the love of it.

Since I can't attend this year, I’m putting together my own writing retreat. Like a staycation, I don’t plan on going anywhere. My kids are going to two homeschool science days, one this month and one in May. These are roughly from 10-3, which I plan to devote to writing.
Here’s what I did last week for the April day:

(This is how I imagine I’d order my life would be if I didn’t have to take care of kids or work):

10:00 drop kids off
10:30-12:00 write (I added 1500 words to my WIP!)
12:00-12:30 Lunch while watching a little Netflix (it can’t all be about writing)
12:30-1:00 more writing
1:00-1:30 leisurely stroll around the park (because I get my best ideas when I walk)
1:30-2:00 more writing (I ended up writing 1800 words for the whole day)
2:00-2:30 reading for pleasure (because reading is just as important as writing)

It was a wonderful day. 

What I'd like to do for next month is to also read an inspirational writing book around the same time. I haven't read Bird by Bird (I know!), so that's a possibility, but if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.


  1. This is such a good idea! You're so right - we should create our own retreats. I'm going to go plan one for myself!

    1. Oh, you should, Liz, and I hope it rejuvenates you!

  2. Jane Yolen's TAKE JOY is my recommendation, to supplement Anne LeMott's wonderful book.
    I've only ever been on the home-made-not-for-pay sort of retreats, and vouch for their value.

    1. Thanks, Mirka! I haven't heard of TAKE JOY, but it sounds like just the thing I've been looking for and need to read right now.
      I'm starting to realize I like the homemade retreats best myself--because the thing I value most is time to write.

  3. What a lovely day! 1800 is super great. There aren't many times when I don't have the kidlet, except sometimes on Sunday. When I have to work those days, my in-laws pick him up for church, so I get an hour and a half to plunk myself down and write before I have to be in at work. Though sometimes I just read, always relaxing!

  4. I know what you mean, Leandra. I'm rarely alone, too, and so I'm always sneaking in writing when I can. Reading is good, too--you're getting inspired. :)

  5. I was going to suggest Take Joy by Jane Yolen

    Read/use BREAK INTO FICTION. You can watch a movie while using the templates in it to write your own novel [ the authors fill in the templates for 4 movies - CASABLANCA PRETTY WOMAN FINDING NEMO THE BOURNE IDENTITY

    1. Thanks, Liz, for the Break into Fiction suggestion. I hadn't heard of it, but I could see how analyzing those films would be helpful for plotting Thanks for stopping by!