I NEVER HAVE TIME TO WRITE!
With so many daily distractions in a writer’s life, it’s a small wonder any books can get written and published. As any artist does, a writer needs time and space for personal expression. That includes no interruptions from kids, tv, phone calls, the boss, bad weather, etc.
I know. I know. Only in a perfect world. I’m a Mom too, and sometimes the only way I could get any writing done was to check out of everyday life, and check-in somewhere for a retreat.
For me, running away to some small hideaway town, amid a patch of trees or a beach always does the trick! (with an outside desk, of course!)
If you can afford it with time and cost – RUN!
If you can’t – here are a few starving-writers’ tips to block out a chunk of literary abandonment.
NO WORRIES, KIDDIES. MOMMY WILL BE BACK AFTER IT'S A BEST-SELLER!
No popularity – you can be in pjs and tuck away from people constantly bugging you on texts.
No catwalk. You don’t have to be ‘on’ all the time. The purpose is to sit and write. You don’t have to have a fashion show to curl up with a pen, paper for laptop.
This is one time you can really pack a light bag!
OK, MAYBE NOT THAT LIGHT!
No chores – you only have YOU to take care of. Eat when you want, what you want, sleep when you want. And no one can demand you have to get up at any time to do things.
YOU MEAN, I DON’T HAVE TO WHIP UP DESSERT?
No excuses – You’re there to write. That’s it. And you can’t bring work with you. Writing is enough work as it is, but something you must do. You can only slowly float along in your own imagination and write it out.
WELL……… I WILL WRITE AFTER THE DINNER PARTY!
It can be done! Think of places that you know would whip up your imagination. Find a way to go there. There are many, even a day and a picnic at the park or a lakeside. Cabins are cheap off season and so are the beach bungalows. Amtrak gives away ‘trip scholarships’ to writers for space, time and inspiration to write as you travel. There are plenty of other scholarships and contests hosting retreats and conferences to win.
Don’t let the parent trap keep you from getting away! Switch weekend with the spouse to watch the kids and take a break alone or with friends for a literary retreat.
I JUST NEED A LITTLE TIME TO WRITE. LEAVE ME ALONE.
It can be cheap! It doesn’t have to be a private island in the Carib. It can be a lakefront cabin or a hostel. Somewhere that no one knows you so no one will probably bother you.
THE WRITERS COTTAGE? IT’S JUST DOWN THAT LANE (3 MILES)
Swap houses with someone you know and trust. This will probably give you both a nice little cheap getaway.
Bring a gang of like-minded writers who are also desperate for some quiet and space – split the cost of the place you stay. Hostels work well for that and maybe some bed and breakfasts, which would eliminate the need to cook 1 meal, at least!
You don’t have to travel that far, even if you can afford it. Getting away within an hours drive may also acquaint you with some awesome places nearby that you would nOt bother visiting. And you can write about THAT, if not for a creative exercise!
SLOW SPEED AHEAD! I HAVE A NOVEL TO WRITE!
It can work! Getting away from the norm is one of the best antidotes for the dreaded writers’ block, so pack a weekend bag of comfies, good drinks (coffee too), some nibbles, cozies, papers, pens, (or your laptop) to get away from the usual backdrop.
I JUST BROUGHT A FEW THINGS I NEED TO BRIGHTEN UP THIS ROOM A BIT!
Breathing in new experiences ALWAYS stirs up new ideas to write about and the yearning to curl up and actually do it.
A few good ideas to take along:
1/ Set some rules – If you go with other people, you need to establish some guidelines or it will turn into a gab & wine weekend. That’s fun too, but the purpose is to get away and write uninterrupted. If a few buffers are agreed on everybody can be relaxed, ready to write, and be productive. I suggest quietness, earplugs for music, serene surroundings, lots of fluids you like and trusted pen-friends.
FREEEEEEEEEEEEE, TO WRITE!
2/ Set some goals – You are there to produce, so set some goals. Are you writing a query? Maybe have some sprints against a clock. Not for competition but just for motivation. Some writers who gather will bring a small door prize gift for the one who writes the most words but the key is to reach some goals that you couldn’t do on normal days. Groups will often write throughout the day and share that ‘line of the day’ that they came up with before going to bed. If you go with friends you can all help with a celebration dinner too, and all clean up quickly to return to writing. Maybe agree to have a critiquing time.
‘READ ME SOME MORE’ – magic words to a writer!
3/ Dry out – Now I’m not necessarily talking about alcohol or drugs but daily habits, like watching too much tv or Pinterest browsing – those damnable vortexes that suck up our time otherwise. Whatever it is that keeps you from writing on your free time – don’t allow it. Shopping, Face-booking, texting, reality tv or worse – whatever keeps you from never having time to yourself to write – BLOCK IT! TAKE OUT OR TURN OFF THE WIFI. Maybe you should put your phone on airplane/sleep mode.
THY CRAFTINESS PLAGUES ME, OH PINTREST!
3/ Take a few breaks – Yes, take a break from taking a break. Get up and stretch. Go outside in the sun and get some air. Some water. Write some notes down for a new story if you get inspired. Have some wine and snacks. Quietly chat with others who are also clearly taking a break in an established no-writing zone.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO SIT HERE BEFORE I CAN GO BACK TO WRITING?
4/ Get some sleep – If you’re fortunate to find a bunch of trusted good people to travel and bunk with, don’t feel guilty catching some extra winks of sleep. I find that when I go away, some people opt for naps. It is ok. Part of the ‘me-time’ relaxation. They get a refreshing nap in and ready to write through the night sometimes, I have observed.
I NEED REST BEFORE WRITING MY NEXT BEST-SELLER!
Okay, so you covered all those details and fate seems to be working against your plans for a weekend literary love affair. What can you do?
Don’t give up. Cut it short. You don’t have to go for a few days. If it is really that impossible to get away or money is too tight, try some day trips for a few hours in your area.
Make agreements with the rest of similar frustrated souls to meet at a café or reserve a meeting room at a library for what we call in my writing group – ‘fests’. Blogfests. Write ins. Sprints. Contests for most words.
OKAY, WHERE IS EVERYBODY?
Whatever way you decide to do it, ESCAPE! Run away like your characters. Short or long trips - it's still time just writing!