We all want to make writing a priority. But, how do you find the time in your schedule when you have a busy life, full-time job, family, and necessary duties to attend to?
Usually, writing retreats involve going away, far from everyday obligations, and focusing solely on your writing. Retreats can vary in length, anything from a few days to a few months. Writing retreats are great for getting away from it all. You get a chance to step aside from regular obligations, and give yourself the gift of total focus to get your writing done. But, sometimes getting away can be difficult and expensive.
Here are some ways to create your own writing retreat space in the comfort of your own home:
- Have a focus for your time. You may wish to work on one creative project or several, but decide beforehand what this time is devoted to. This will help when you enter the writing zone to get down to work right away.
- Plan your Stay-at-Home Writer’s Retreat in advance so you can rearrange your other commitments, and plan for your success.
- When you plan to do something new, it can help to tell the important people in your life what you’re planning on doing. Use your social media network to share your plan, progress, and success. Telling your supportive community helps you follow through, congratulate you, and celebrate with you.
- Commit to tune out. You may want to unplug the phone, commit to leave your e-mail program off for the day and silence your cell phone.
- Gather items that will help any space feel like your own personal retreat. This may include inspirational or instructional books and magazines, sample copies of publications you’d like to query, a notebook to record goals and ideas, a journal and pens, and your laptop. You can also have an MP3 player stocked with your favorite music to write by, and a photo or piece of art that inspires you.
- Look around your home, inside and out, for places that can become secret retreat spots even on a busy day. An attic is ideal, especially if access is by a folding ladder you can pull up after you. Shut yourself into a spare bedroom at the back of the house. Play some soft music or light some candles. Make the room as tranquil and inspiring as possible.
- Set up your desk with things that inspire you such as flowers, photos, or quotes. Cover the desk with your favorite tablecloth or buy some fabric from your local craft store. Buy a fish or a plant to place on your desk. Hang beautiful photos and images or create a vision board on the walls surrounding the area. Making your writing space as inviting and retreat-like as possible will encourage you to regularly go there.
- Choose a signal to tell yourself it’s time to focus on writing. Formalizing such a ritual will shift your mind from your daily routine to writing mode. Remind yourself to go to your work area when you realize you are avoiding writing.
- Celebrate small successes with a reward to motivate yourself to keep going. Rewarding yourself after finishing a task will help you to repeat the performance later. Reward yourself often enough and your brain will form links between undertaking and completing the accomplished task, and the great feeling a reward brings.
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Julie Guirgis is an international freelance writer living in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has been published in several publications. Some of these include Transition, Majellan, Madonna, Eureka St, The Nathaniel Report, Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Unity, Significant Living, Caring Times, Vibrant Life, Alive Now, Now What?, Insight, Guide, The Aquarian, The Edge, Creation Illustrated, Kaleidoscope, Insights, Compass, Writer’s Weekly, Coffee House for Writers, Author’s Publish Magazine, Splendry, Woman Alive, Spotlight on Recovery, and has upcoming work in The Narcissist’s Playbook Anthology and Friend.