When it’s used a verb, “retreat” is like a military term. “Our foul-breathed enemies are advancing–retreat! retreat!” But retreat can also mean to withdraw to a secluded, quiet place. To me, a writing retreat is a combo of both. For a lot of us, time is our enemy, so when we withdraw from our daily routine to devote time to craft, it’s like a retreating retreat.
Why take time to retreat?
- That story is not going to write itself. You have stellar intentions to write at lunchtime or after dinner or on weekends, but then out go your intentions when the tyranny of the urgent takes over. The only thing you find time to write is a to do list. Retreats provide concentrated time to truly, you know, concentrate.
- Creative juices curdle under pressure. You’ve noticed that, right? The more you push and strain your brain to produce in a tiny capsule of time, the quicker your creativity contracts. It takes time for half-baked ideas to warm, rise and fully expand.
- Getting out of your element opens your pores, I mean, doors. Perhaps I need to explain. When you write in a new environment, it’s unsettling–in a good way. It gets you out of a same ol’ lame ol’ rut. Go with it. If new ideas come knocking, open those doors!
Bonus round–Ideas for creating your own retreat . . . book a hotel room for a weekend. Too pricey? Use your office at work–Saturdays are typically quiet. Ask a group of writing friends to rent a house for a few days. Will a relative be out-of-town for the weekend? Ask if they would like a house sitter. (Nothing wrong with sitting in their house to write, right?)
Please treat yourself to a retreat this year, my little triple berry scones. The only regret you’ll have is not doing it.
In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion. ~ Albert Camus