Ever have one of those months?
Your spawn. Your spouse. The necessary evil of your day job. The whole lot pulling at you like you were Stretch Armstrong on a bender.
Because the holidays will do that and then they snowball into tax season. And then, it becomes one of those months.
Responsibility sucks the big bag sometimes.
Especially when all I really want to do is finish my damn edits so I can get my manuscript out the door already. Waiting agent won’t wait forever.
So I did what any (slightly) normal writer who is fed up with the hamster wheel of life would do.
That’s right. I packed my flappies, laptop and chocolate and waved goodbye to the Needful Things (as my bestie for life nicknamed spawn and spouse) tainting my creative space with their lengthy but-mom-you-gotta-do agendas.
You’re thinking I forgot something, aren’t you? Not to worry. We hit the liquor store on the way to the hotel.
Thank the credit card powers that be who have bestowed upon me ginormous amounts of Hilton Honors points good for king whirlpool suites equipped with state of the art ergonomic writing chairs and desks. Throw in a mini-kitchen and free wi-fi, and we’ve got ourselves a Writer’s Retreat.
So BFF and I embarked on a Needful Thing free weekend and wrote/edited/drank our patookies off. We got so much done! It’s amazing how much writing you can accomplish during hours upon hours of unfettered isolation.
As an added bonus, we also solved all the world’s problems, but since no one else but us was listening, and neither of us can coherently recall most of the conversations, alas, the world still suffers.
We emerged from our retreat refreshed and reenergized and deeply satisfied at the progress that was made on our novels. We renewed our own creativity. Life could be faced once more.
I’m not advocating abandoning your families and livelihood and throwing your fate to the winds just so you can hole up like a Barrymore and puke your guts onto the page.
No. My point is just slightly to the left of that. I’m saying, every once in a while, a writer needs to escape real life in order to visit the places we struggle so valiantly to create with our words.
To quote an overused marketing cliché, my point is that sometimes you need to think outside the box.
The box being the everyday time-to-make-the-donuts never ending life loop. You need to think outside – literally – of your humdrum brain-dead box, i.e. ditch the home front and find a place you can completely dedicate yourself to your writing world. Preferably with a friend, because, hey, it’s not healthy to drink alone. (Oops, said that out loud, didn’t I?)
Can’t take a whole weekend? Okay, excuse maker, how about a mini-retreat on a Saturday afternoon? Or a Wednesday night? Replace the liquor with coffee, because you still have to drive home, but hey… (I’m talking aloud again, aren’t I? Damn it.)
Next time you find yourself stumbling zombie-like on the treadmill of day-to-day and your writing is suffering, acknowledge that you may need a retreat to spur your brain cells back into action. Check your calendar, hit up a few buddies, and plan your retreat. Go. Write/edit/drink your patookies off. Recharge the batteries.
Your Needful Things will thank you.
What? You thought they didn’t need a break from your sorry ass, too?