I also organize the column, The Well Writer, for the Christian Fiction Online Magazine. The month of July Pepper Basham covered the topics of fear and overload. I hope you'll visit this column every month as part of a writer wellness program of your own making. I encourage all of you to evaluate your current situations and decide where something has to give. We can't do everything all the time. Take stock and decide what you need to do to live smarter, healthier, happy lives.
I took my very first personal writing retreat near the end of May to finish the third book in my current series. I wasn't sure what to expect since I'd never been to this retreat center. I've never been to any retreat center to stay more than one day. A trusted friend suggested I try it. I stayed an entire week at Potter's Ranch.
The picture to your left is a road I walked up and down every evening thinking about very little after spending most of the day writing and knowing the evening would be spent writing as well. There were horses everywhere. I could actually stop and listen and hear nothing but crickets, geese, and birds.
My cabin was awesome and had two bedrooms and two baths, a full kitchen, and lovely living room. I brought snacks and breakfast food with me and joined the staff and other guests for lunch and dinner every day at the lodge. There was no television channels but I could watch DVDs. The only thing I brought with me was season one of Downton Abbey. I watched the entire season again but only after I'd met my necessary quota of words for the day. :)
Five things I learned from this experience.
- FOCUS is a powerful tool. When I write at home it's so easy to be distracted. But when I scheduled my time to run away from home I didn't have to worry about the dishes or dinner, laundry or running to the store. I was able to stay in my story and that helped me get more done faster.
- ACCOMPLISHMENT fuels me to want to accomplish more. After all, I was by myself. I didn't have anything else to concern myself with.I accomplished more than I thought myself capable of doing.
- SELF MANAGEMENT is more than managing my time. I took breaks to keep my back from aching and keep my head clear. I used the timer on my cell phone to see how many words I could write in 15 minutes, in 30 minutes, and in an hour.
- PEACE is essential. I knew that, but I rarely experience it. To walk and not see anyone, to spend time with God and just let all my worries pour out. Great therapy by the way. To read my Bible looking out over fields and trees, was like living on another planet for me.
- CONTENTMENT blooms from within when I allow it to happen. Life can be crazy, can't it? The days fly by me so fast and until I took this opportunity to go away, even though I had the specific purpose of finishing a book, I received so much more.
Now that I've had my retreat I'm looking for ways to keep retreat alive in my daily life. What about you? Have you enjoyed a personal retreat of some kind? What did you learn?