They say writing retreats can spark creativity, detach a writer from everyday concerns, and provide a space to dream of author success. Organized retreats can be expensive, but I believe all writers can design an affordable, personal retreat for themselves. For example, one of my friends goes alone to his family cabin a short distance from home for weekend writing sessions. Another has trained family never to enter her sanctum sanctorum in the house and absolutely never to interrupt when she’s writing. A third goes alone to her favorite West Coast beach each year for a solitary vacation and writing binge.
As for me … I believe I’ve found a near-perfect solution. In the fall, I’ll combine a family visit with a writing retreat. I’ll stay, most of the time, in an airbnb – referred to as The Studio – in the city where my family lives. It’s free-standing and tiny, a converted garage. The ground floor is open and contains a living/dining area, kitchenette, and bathroom. I can write at the dining table or on the couch. Toward the center of the room is a spiral staircase leading to a sleeping area under the rafters with a window at the head of the bed to provide light for some lying-in self-editing. A huge deck connects the studio to the main house and offers a table and chairs for relaxation, dining, or writing.
I’ll be on my own much of the time to concentrate on writing, mainly during the day, and can also enjoy being with family on week nights and weekends. The airbnb will be my oasis, the place I refresh my creative spirit and gear up to reach my destination.
The Studio is two blocks from my family’s home where a supportive, talented daughter and an energetic, impish six year old granddaughter live. They are my constant inspiration. I’ll have access to a branch library, grocery store, drug store, post office branch, pastry shop, a city park, and a large plaza with shops and restaurants, a movie theater, and a huge book store. Six mini-plazas within its boundaries contain fountains, statuary, and seating areas to relax or write. A river walk along its southern border has benches and beautiful trees. Everything is within easy walking distance, albeit with steep hills along the way. Luckily, The Studio is located between two major streets, one with a bus line and the other with a Max, both of which put me in reach of all the conveniences.
While at my tiny retreat, I intend to concentrate my writing time on TWN (The Wretched Novel) – a tongue-in-cheek name for a project I’ve been working on for decades. It will be my most committed attempt to complete the manuscript. My previously published works, of medium length, are a collection of short stories, a compilation of conversations between two friends, and a book of memory snippets. Maybe, in my tiny retreat, I’ll complete a more publishable draft of TWN than I have in my previous nine attempts. Also, I’ll dream of building the tiny house I’ve designed for myself as an author (see Musings at nancylreed.com).
A private retreat can be near home or far away, expensive or cost nothing, be single- or dual-purposed. When a writer finds the right/write retreat, it will provide an environment for dedicated creativity.
Love of the written word inspired Nancy L. (Nan) Reed to write from an early age: short stories, novels, memory snippets, scripts, and poetry. She calls Colorado the perfect place to live and is Musing at nancylreed.com about writing and designing a tiny house specifically for a wordsmith. She finds fellow writers excellent company and encourages everyone with a story or poem to put pen to paper.
You can find Nan’s books on amazon.com: A Short Story Olio, Questions, so many questions, Dog-grr-el: canine cadence, hound haiku, puppy poetry: For Dog Lovers of All Ages, Words Left Behind: Tales from a life gladly lived, and coming soon, a new edition of Conversations Between Two Great Friends.
Donna Volkenannt says
A small retreat sounds like a great solution. We have a place in the country that is the perfect retreat, except usually the guys like to go and ride four wheelers or do guy stuff. I’m determined to take a few days later this year and go it alone and get some writing done.
Margot Kinberg says
I really like that idea. A small retreat like that allows you to concentrate more on the actual writing, and on clearing your mind so you can get it done.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
I close my office door, crank the tunes, and I’ve created my retreat.
I hope The Studio is all you want it to be and that you make excellent progress on TWN!! This is a wonderful inspiration to all of us to venture out and take chances to find a perfect space to concentrate on our creative aspirations.
L. Diane Wolfe says
That would be a nice place to have. I do most of my writing in front of my computer, but just leaving it to go sit at the kitchen table (with a beautiful view of our newly remodeled backyard) is like a retreat.