When most freelance writers picture a writer’s retreat, they think of quiet cabins in the woods filled with the highest literary talent, spending their days creating timeless works. While retreats like this may have existed a few times, the actual reason behind any writer’s retreat is so writers can spend a few days concentrating only on their work, without worrying about the world outside.
Whether you’re writing content or working on your latest novel, the outside world is always there to distract you. Laundry needs washing, kids will interrupt, and partners will want you to watch movies with them at inconvenient times. Your house is distracting even when you’re the only one home; there’s always something that needs to be done, nagging at the back of your head. Setting aside enough hours in the day to write is hard, and distractions make it even harder.
This is the charm and draw of a writer’s retreat. A neat and clean environment, comfortable places to work, prepared meals, and no responsibilities besides writing. Most of them are even held in beautiful natural spots, adding scenery to the list of advantages. The only problem is that, for most freelance writers, the cost of a commercial writing retreat is completely out of reach.
DIY Career Jumpstart
You may not be able to afford thousands of dollars for a classic writer’s retreat, but you can create your own and reap the same rewards. If you’ve got a group of writer friends willing to get together for some career inspiration, it will be even better. But simply doing it yourself can have great impact on your writing career.
If the key to a successful writing retreat is minimalism and lack of distractions, what could be better than a hotel room? You have comfortable furniture, a desk or table and chairs, snacks right down the hall and hot meals available during the day and most of the night. What you won’t have is cleaning, cooking, laundry, family, or any other responsibilities to distract you. You can concentrate on nothing but writing, eight or ten hours a day.
No one thrives on constant work. You’ve got to come up for air and replenish your creative senses, so choose your retreat hotel in a city that interests you. Is there a quilt museum you want to visit? Is warm air and a handy pool your idea of heaven? Make sure there’s something fun to do when you finally come up for air and take a break. Bringing a couple of like-minded writer friends can help this along. Schedule writing hours and social time, and use some of the social time for critiques and beta reading.
Doing the same thing year after year almost guarantees you getting stale, especially with creative work. Every writer needs to recharge her creative batteries once in a while, and a DIY writer’s retreat can be exactly what you need to jumpstart your writing to a new level.
Victoria B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.