a new plan: writing retreat



Is it ironic or just apropo that right before Remy and I leave for a week in California (I wish M could have come, but he doesn't get a mid-winter break), I finally figured out how to write my book?

I had two conversations, one last night and one today, that helped me come up with this new plan.

The first conversation was with a poet who we were hanging out with for the first time (she's the girlfriend of one of M's colleagues). We were talking about our books - she's working on a memoir/ creative non-fiction book as well - and all of the sudden, we both realized that we both prefer writing in long chunks. Marathon writing, if you will.

(That's why the Three Day Novel was easier for me than doing NaNoWriMo.)

And that's when it hit me that I just need to carve out a chunk of time (at first I was thinking five days, but now I think ten) and just focus completely on the book.

This was sort of what I had hoped to do last summer, but the second piece of the puzzle fell into place after this morning's conversation with Souster B:

"Make a list of what you need to not do while you're writing," she said.

 I love it when someone says something and my immediate reaction is, why didn't I think of that! It's brilliant!

A list of what not to do, while I'm on retreat, writing my book.

We started small: not blog (so schedule archive posts or just take a two week break). No Facebook or Instagram while I'm writing.

But I think I need to get more emotionally supportive, too. Because writing a book about grief - even a book about how to support grief, or be supported by love while you're grieving - is really emotionally gruelling.

So I am going to need to fill my well and keep it filled.

Which means watching a lot of comedies, after Remy goes to bed.
Which means listening to a playlist of uplifting music.
Which means having the house not be a complete mess before I go into retreat mode.
Which means not spending my energy on Facebook.
Which means having a support group of someone I can "talk" to during the process (at the end of the day's writing, not during). Preferably someone who is doing a writing retreat at the same time. Or at least someone who is willing to support my writing and not dump extra issues in my lap those two weeks.

This is definitely doable. Very much so.

The parameters of my timing are: it can't occur during either M or Remy's spring breaks. (I hate that they have different weeks off, it would be so nice if it was the same, then we could do something fun together!)

I need about a week prep time (to deep clean the house and schedule posts and do all the other things that I will need to stop doing during the retreat).

Right now I am tentatively looking at the first and second week of March. That might be cutting it a little close post-travel. Plus, I really do need to house-nest, I'm not sure if one week is enough for all the nesting I want to do.

If not, then maybe the last two weeks of April. That gives me a week to recharge and prep after Remy's spring break.

We'll see. I like having the start of a plan. Timing will sort itself out, eventually. I may need to schedule five days instead of ten, since I was thinking the weekend would be time off anyway, I can always schedule another week later, if I need to.

Right now, the idea is: start planning. Make it happen.

After we get back from California.

(Oh, thank you good weather forecasts for our trip. I need warmth and sun and green and blue. Yes. Right now the world is too much white and gray and black and brown and drab.)