Sunday, February 7, 2016

A DIY Writer’s Retreat

Writers lock themselves in hotel rooms or escape to an isolated area for a reason – to write. It’s so much easier to write when no one else is around. To write for hours and hours. And hours. That’s why I love the occasional dog/house-sitting gig that comes my way.
I’m about 20 miles from home in a three-bedroom home with four very nice dogs, a large yard, and excellent wi-fi. My workspace is the dining room table. 
My work station and officemate. 
The pups are very good company while my husband keeps the home fires burning. Sometimes we switch locales if I’ve an important meeting or something. And sometimes we work it together.
Mostly, the dog/house-sitting gig is a writer’s retreat for me.
Or as Alexandra Franzen recently wrote: “a work-cation.” She says her friend Melissa coined the word.
My computer/laptop, paper, and pens are the only things I need for my writer’s retreat. I’ll use the timer on my phone once in a while. But that’s about it.
The main thing is to keep it simple so I can get as much work done as possible. There's only one rule – out of bed by 8 to walk and feed the dogs so I can be writing by 9.
Then, things tend to take care of themselves. 
A writer’s retreat = being by one’s self to write. This can be done in the bathroom for 20 minutes while kids (hopefully) nap. Or 10 minutes. Or 2. 
A work-cation perk: picking tangerines. 
A writer's retreat doesn’t have to be a dog/house-sitting gig, a formalized-you-pay-lots-of-money weekend at a university, or a trip to the local coffee house. Anywhere with just you and your writing tools will do. For as long as time allows.