Writing retreats are wondrous things – uninterrupted time to write, quiet hours to ponder plot and character, and new friendships with other writers. The only problem is that retreats are expensive! Here are some ways to create your own writer’s retreat:
Leave Home to Write
For a true retreat experience, it is essential to go somewhere else. At home, even if you can carve out uninterrupted time, the chores and responsibilities of everyday life still weigh on you. It’s easier for kids’ homework, job deadlines, shopping and other responsibilities to slide away from your conscious mind if you’re away from home. And you can’t escape the keyboard to clean the refrigerator!
Writer’s Retreats at Hotels
A hotel makes a quick and easy getaway for writers. No long travel necessary, and you can choose one with a good restaurant inside so you don’t need to leave unless you want to. Make sure your room is big enough for both sleeping and writing space, and that there’s either a comfortable chair for freehand writing, or a good table for your laptop. Check in for a day or two, and be sure to ask the hotel to unplug the television (and take the cord with them).
Writer’s Retreats at Bed and Breakfasts
For a cozy atmosphere, try several days at a Bed and Breakfast. Your room will be warm and inviting, and your surroundings (outside streets as well as other guests) will usually be quieter than a hotel. All the comforts of home without the responsibilities, and you won’t have to go out for breakfast. Look specifically for a historical house or a rural setting if you like, but wherever you go, make sure there is a desk in your room.
Create a Retreat at a Friend’s House
If a hotel or bed & breakfast is out of your price range, do you have a friend you haven’t seen for a while? Combine your writer’s retreat with catch-up time. Go during the week and write while she’s at work. You’ll have eight or more hours of uninterrupted writing time, and you can visit when she’s home in the evening.
Coordinate with Writing Partners
Many organized writer’s retreats plan evenings for speakers and socializing. Turn your solo time into a full-fledged writer’s retreat by inviting a writing partner or two along. You’ll need your own rooms and the discipline to stick to the schedule you plan. Perhaps you’ll meet for breakfast, then write through the morning and afternoon with brown-bag or room service for lunch. Then you can socialize, compare notes and brainstorm together through dinner and the evening.
Whether you manage to get away for one day or three, it’s worth the effort to have a chance to focus solely on your writing. You’ll accomplish more than you thought possible, and return refreshed and ready to juggle your life again.