I belong to several writers’ groups; it’s one of the benefits of moving around the country as much as I do. Many of these groups host a writers’ retreat each year, a weekend where we gather and hide from the world with the intent writing. We have permission to ignore everyone and hunker down with our stories. We also have a steady source of critique partners or brainstorming partners.
There’s something special about being in a secluded environment with other people who share the crazy voices inside our heads. People who understand what it’s like to wonder how to dispose of bodies or what sex position two people can use while canoodling in a canoe without causing permanent spine damage.
I think being in such a space gives my brain permission to relax enough to be creative full time. When I’m at home, there’s laundry and housework and so many distractions that feel more important than writing. Even though I know my writing is a serious pursuit, it’s still something I have to pursue while working other jobs and sometimes feel like I push it to the side when I’m at home. I make money from my writing. It’s a budding career, not a hobby. When I’m at the retreat, writing is my full-time pursuit.
Even if I can’t attend a retreat with one of my writers’ groups, I’ll try and create a retreat on my own. Hopefully, it’s not because the world is in the middle of a pandemic as we are right now. It’s time to refocus my attention on my writing and remind myself why I love doing what I do.