Sometimes you need a change of scenery to get things done. I’ve long had a bit of a fantasy of taking a writing retreat (I think I put taking one on my official List of 100 Dreams). But I also know that you don’t actually need to take two weeks in Provence to finish the draft of a novel. I write for a living and novel revisions are a part of that like anything else. If you do plumbing for a living, you don’t need two weeks in Provence to plumb properly, as it were.
And so I’ve been doing a mini-retreat — going to a local library for a few hours every morning. I’ve enjoyed the rhythm of getting in my car to go somewhere (yes, a short commute is kind of exciting). I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the library patrons who are there every day. Why do they spend their mornings in the library? Who is that guy who comes in to read the paper every day? What about the almost oddly tall dude who walks back and forth between the stacks? Some of them could be novel characters in their own right.
But I don’t spend all my time observing my fellow library goers; I’m getting some heavy revisions done, too. I have my iPhone with me, but I haven’t logged on to the library Wi-Fi, and it’s kind of amazing what you can get done when you’re not trying to multi-task. Last night I did have a moment of panic about the number of other things I was ignoring in order to consciously devote large blocks of time to a large project. But this focused, deep work, is pretty rewarding, too.
The one problem? It’s 2-hour parking in the library lot, so I have to go out and move my car occasionally. But then again, I know breaks are important for productivity.
Have you ever carved out space to work on a big project? Or taken a writing retreat?