Two Lessons I Learned From a Writing Retreat (At Home!)

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I came across this idea from a blog article by E.M. Welsh that you can find here. Between NaNoWriMo, and changes happening at my day job, this past month has been incredibly stressful. My WIP was moving along, but I felt like I needed to take a step back and rediscover it. What I loved most about Welsh's idea is that I wasn't focused on pumping out a crazy wordcount. Instead, I was taking time to relax, recharge, and rediscover my passion for my story.

I decided to take last weekend off and dream, plot, read, and enjoy life. My only goal was to feel better about my writing life and to rediscover the joy my manuscript had previously brought me. 

I not only achieved this goal, but I rediscovered myself in the process. I...

  • Read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan 
  • Went on a nature hike
  • Listened to two podcasts that weren't writing related
  • Solved some issues I was encountering with my novel
  • Formalized a plan for my publishing company
  • Went into a bookstore and daydreamed about my book being on the shelf. (I also bought three more books because life's too short and my TBR pile can never be too long.)
  • Caught up with friends 
  • Daydreamed about my next novel
  • Planned out my next non-fiction project.
  • Sat on my front porch and watched the sunset 
  • Fell in love with my novel again

At the end of my retreat. I felt inspired, motivated, happy, and a sense of peace. This retreat was well needed, and I plan to schedule quarterly retreats for myself in the future. I wrote just to write, I read a book that was on my TBR pile for months, I went on a hike just because I could, and I devoted time to things I've been putting off for months. I put my writing, publishing, and author life goals first last weekend and it paid off in the best way. Most importantly, I learned two lessons:

  1. Live in the moment: I place a lot of pressure on my writing life. I want my publishing company NOW, my book finished NOW, and to be a successful author NOW. This past weekend taught me the importance of living in the moment. I learned not to care about my word count or to stress over a chapter for an hour. Instead, I focused on writing. I wrote a chapter because I liked it and I added a joke because I thought it was funny. I listened to my characters, and not only did I write more than I usually do, but I wrote what I think might be my best work yet. 
  2. You can't write without a writer: I'm always on the go, and I tend to stick pretty hard to a schedule that allows virtually no time for myself. However, this past weekend, I allowed myself to go on a hike, go to the bookstore, chat with a friend, and watch the sunset. I took bubble baths while I listened to a true-crime podcast and I read as long as I wanted to instead of just allowing myself thirty minutes before bed. I took time for myself, without feeling guilty, and my writing thanked me for it. 

Now I challenge you. Plan an at-home writing retreat for yourself. Then, leave a comment down below and let me know what you think. If you've been to a physical writing retreat in the past, I want to hear about it! Let me know what lessons you learned about yourself while attending.

Happy Writing!

P.S. If you want to read Crazy Rich Asians, and I highly recommend that you do, you can buy it using the link below. (*affiliate link!) It's hilarious and perfect for leisurely reading. 

Crazy Rich Asians
By Kevin Kwan