Let’s All Say “Ahhhhhhhh…” and Retreat!

Even when life is going well, the writing pressures, the marketing, the waiting, and the deadlines can make you dream of taking a writing retreat. Add in too many volunteer activities, caring for a baby, taking elderly parents to all their doctors’ appointments, and some days you want to run away.

Last week I mentioned a “book in a box” called The Writer’s Retreat Kit: A Guide for Creative Exploration and Personal Expression by Judy Reeves. I’ve looked longingly at it several times and read some of her ideas of creating writer’s retreats lasting from twenty minutes to several days, depending on the time and money you have available.

Madly Treading Water

This time, though, I’m not going to sigh and put the book box back. I’m going to delve deeper into the retreat idea and try some of the experiences. It’s no surprise that I’m as tired as I am–it’s been months since I could take a weekend (or one day) truly “off.” When I read the following opening page, I let out a big Ahhhhhh! I bet some of you will too. Judy writes:

Getting away: the wish and dream and fantasy of every writer I have ever known and, I expect, of nearly every writer I will ever meet, except for those rare and blessed souls who are lucky enough, or determined enough, or rich enough, to already be “away.”

What is “away”? It is someplace else. It is the place that each of us craves, and when we close our eyes, comes to us in all its wooded shadiness or vast, unending blueness. We visualize a mountain cabin; a cottage by the sea; a secret, hidden monastery; a wide-decked, win­dowed, pillowed, sweet-smelling, abundant, nurturing, solitary place where there are no “musts” or “have tos” or “shoulds.” No dishes to do or phones to answer or children/mates/partners with whom we must interact. No set time to start or stop, to wake up or go to sleep. No television. No email. No deadlines. No place to drive to. It is sim­ply a place to be.

“Away” is generally where we long to be as we arm wrestle the elements of our daily lives to make time for our writing and for that private and soulful part of us that we long to be with but so often set aside.

Getting Rid of False Guilt

It is not that we don’t love our lives; we do. Mostly. And we love the people in our lives — family and friends — and the work we do that allows us to afford the lives we mostly love. But sometimes it’s a little too much for a little too long.

What we want is to get away for a little while. We don’t want to just go on vacation, but to a place we go alone, or maybe with a few like-minded souls who also want to be alone, but in an alone/together way. To renew and refresh and explore and create and refill. To retreat. And to write.

A writing retreat.

Maybe it will be a place you rent. Maybe it will be a free picnic table in a park. Maybe it will be your own backyard swing.

The inner pressure is building. I’m about ready to run!

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2 Responses to Let’s All Say “Ahhhhhhhh…” and Retreat!

  1. Nancy Butts says:

    Kristi, I’m so glad you’re finally finding time to take a mini-retreat. I think you and Judy Reeves are both right—all writers fantasize constantly about getting away to their own little Yaddo to spend hours working on their own projects for a change. After nearly a year of nonstop work and stress, I’ve just been able to take a day or two to try and reconnect with my characters, and it’s proving difficult. So if at first your characters turn their backs on you and give you the silent treatment, don’t give up! I think they resent it when we ignore them for so long, but let’s hope they respond to a little TLC from us.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Nancy, thank you for that encouragement!!!! And the gentle warning there too…that is exactly what is happening. :-) I can tell you understand precisely where I am at this point. Your year and mine sound very similar. Here’s to a calmer time for us BOTH.

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