Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘Writing Retreats’

Stay-cations as DIY retreats

In Shelley Widhalm, Vacations, Writing, Writing Discipline on June 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

Every time I have a vacation where I don’t have travel plans, I turn it into a DIY writer’s retreat stay-cation.

I lodge at my apartment. I write there and at the coffee shop. And I get my meals the usual way, home-cooked (thanks to my boyfriend) or out to eat. Instead of heading off to work and clocking in, I sleep in or laze around, go off to do some writing (usually two to three hours), take a long break and possibly do more writing (or editing).

I usually put in 20 to 25 hours during my stay-cation, as opposed to 0-15 when I’m working full-time. By the end of the week, I’ve accomplished something without spending a dime (except on coffee).

To participate in a stay-cation writer’s retreat, I’ve learned that there isn’t a need for mountain cabins, peaceful lakes or fancy hotels. All that is needed is a quiet place where work will not be interrupted, such as a coffee shop, mall, library, community park, hotel lobby or bookstore.

Here is some other advice for setting up a at-home retreat:

• Commit a certain amount of time to writing, such as three hours, but allow for 10-minute breaks every hour, or whatever meets your needs. Take a lunch break and return for another writing session.
• Set a goal for what you want to achieve by the end of the retreat, such as writing a certain number of chapters in your novel, writing a couple of short stories or working on some other writing project.
• Take a portable writing kit, so you have your tools on hand, such as a dictionary and thesaurus, books on the craft, notebooks, journals, pens and music.

And remember to clock in how many hours of work you accomplish, your word count and any other measures of achievement. Compare what you achieved with your regular writing session. This self-assessment will determine if your retreat was productive.

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DIY Writing Retreats

In 52 Writing Topics, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on November 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

In the home improvement realm, being a do-it-yourselfer is par the course.

Writers can do the same, but they won’t need to shop at home improvement stores, buy how-to books or draft complicated plans.

All they need is a little bit of time and a simple plan.

Writers wanting to participate in a writing retreat – the ultimate, prestigious way to get some writing done – can blueprint the cheaper home version.

They don’t need mountain cabins, peaceful lakes or fancy hotels.

For a mini-retreat, all writers need is a quiet place where their work will not be interrupted.

Ideally, set aside a full day or a weekend for this retreat.

Pick a spot to write, free of distractions and the normal routines, such as a coffee shop, mall, library, community part, hotel lobby or bookstore.

Commit a certain amount of time to writing, such as three hours, but allow for 10-minute breaks every hour, or whatever meets your needs. Take a lunch break and return for another writing session.

Set a goal for what you want to achieve by the end of the retreat, such as writing a certain number of chapters in your novel, writing a couple of short stories or working on some other writing project.

Take a portable writing kit, so you have your tools on hand, such as a dictionary and thesaurus, books on the craft, notebooks, journals, pens and music.

And remember to clock in how many hours of work you accomplished, your word count and any other measures of achievement. Compare what you achieved with your regular writing session.

This self-assessment will determine if your DIY retreat (except the cost of coffee or lunch) was productive.