October 11th was a federal holiday in the United States (Columbus Day or, as the better informed among us prefers, Discoverer’s Day or Indigenous People’s Day). I initially planned to join a forest therapy retreat being hosted at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. However, the event was cancelled, and since I was off from my regular job, and I had already blocked off a portion of my day for the retreat, I figured that I shouldn’t waste the time.
So I planned my own retreat at home.
I planned this at the last minute, so the instruction I’m giving you all are close to what I did, but not quite the same. I did the best I could: after all, I had initially planned to be forest bathing in a gorgeous botanical garden, so this last-minute change was unexpected. When I take time to do this again (before the end of this year), I’ll use these points as a guide. Here’s how I would – and did – plan an ideal writing retreat.
Pick a day and time, and block it out on my schedule. I already had the date and time, based on the forest therapy retreat. I mentally blocked it out of my schedule, and made sure to plan my activities for after the retreat. I also took care of what I could over the weekend, and I scheduled anything that wasn’t pressing until the following day.
Select what I’m going to work on during your retreat. I already had three books that I am working on actively (as shared in the previous Writer’s Wednesday post), so I knew what I wanted to work on. However, if I was planning this during a month when I didn’t have a writing plan, then I would select the book I’d work on before I embark upon my retreat time.
Clean up the space where you’ll be writing and retreat-ing. Or, if your budget allows, get a hotel room for at least 24 hours (48 hours would probably be best). I didn’t want to book a hotel room, but I knew that I could tidy up my office and make it feel pretty and relaxing. I took some time during the weekend before the 11th to wipe down surfaces, unbox some stuff that was overdue for a permanent home, and clear space for my laptop and anything else that I may need.
Add things into the space where I’ll be writing that will make it easier to feel like I’m getting away from it all. Fragrances I enjoy (that make me feel creative or inspired), a tray of fresh fruit and sparkling water, a cozy blanket, a yoga mat, and a playlist of great tunes were all prepped and ready for my home retreat. I also brought in my Himalayan salt lamp and a few fun crystals, just for good measure.
Have a variety of writing equipment and material. Since my retreat happened in my office, I already had a plethora of pens, pencils, markers and even crayons nearby. I also have a variety of notebooks and journals nearby, for convenience. If I want to write by hand, I have everything I need, and if I want to type, my laptop is always nearby, too. And, if I feel like voice typing, my headset is in my office and ready for use.
Set a timer for my writing. I set my timer to start, and I stuck to it, just as I would if I was scheduled for a meeting at work, or if I had a tutoring student session on my calendar. I set the timer for the length of my retreat, and when the timer goes off, I do a couple of yoga stretches and then continue with the rest of my day. I don’t allow anything to interfere with my time during the retreat.
Last but not least, I prepped my loved ones. I told my beloveds that I was not to be disturbed during this time, and I left food where they could easily access it. I put up a sign on the office door to confirm again that I was not to be disturbed. I turned off my ringer and let them know that I wouldn’t be reachable until after my retreat time.
Those are my tips for creating a fantastic writing retreat at home. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you need a pretty journal for your own writing retreat I got a cute one for you. This journal has wide ruled pages and each page has an image of one of five Black American opera singers from the turn of the 20th century: Mamie “Bronze Melba” Flowers, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, Elizabeth Greenfield, Flora Batson, and Marie Selika Williams. The journal has 179 pages, so LOTS of writing space for your journaling needs. I think you’ll love it!
That’s it for today’s Writer’s Wednesday! I hope you got some tips that you can use. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
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