Monday, July 26, 2010

Create Your Own Writing Retreat - Finding a First Priority

Image: 'Man Writing' by
After two months of dealing with distractions, I am trying to get myself back into my writing routine. Perhaps you've had this problem, too, where other issues seem much more pressing than your allotted writing time, and you allow yourself to be drawn off to deal with them. I've gotten out of my writing habit the last few weeks, distracted by stuff that looks like writing, but really isn't: dealing with the SFPA poetry contest, going through old files of ancient stories, keeping my weekly prompts here on my blog, and other 'administrative' tasks. It is all important to me, and related to writing, but actual writing time has fallen way, way down.

To recharge myself, I decided to 'send' myself on a writing retreat. (And no, I'm not in some amazing natural setting, putting pen to paper during a sunset, gazing out at the water ... but you work with what you have.) My spouse had to attend a conference, and I chose to go along and use the time out of my usual environment to concentrate on getting back into more of a writing habit. (And hopefully finally finish that novel that has been crying for attention since April.)

Part of my agenda is to write at least a short post every day this week here on One Writer's Mind. As you know, my usual strategy is to post one or two long posts, and then a writing prompt. (Or post nothing but writing prompts for weeks, apparently ...)

Going about planning a writing retreat turned out to be an interesting process. My first issue, and the one I chose to blog about today, was that of choosing my main goal. What did I hope to accomplish by the end of the week? I have five days where I can devote several hours to writing, editing, re-reading, crafting, background research, or anything I need to do. An amazing luxury. So how do I get the most out of it?

I decided I should define a first priority, the way to say "if you accomplish this you can claim 100% mission success." My need to reestablish more of a routine was pretty clear. So while I figured that I needed to set several specific writing goals, the first and foremost was simply to say I would write for two solid hours each day. No editing in that time, no re-reading, no research. Two hours of writing. I often end up getting diverted with all those other important tasks, and simply do not get the words down on the 'page' each day that I need to get down.

Have you sent yourself on a retreat? Did you make a primary goal? How did you decide what you wanted to accomplish more than anything else?

Thanks for reading - now back to making the day's writing goal.


Image Credit: 'Man Writing' by via Creative Commons and Flikr

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